15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Defiant beauty
If Young Team gained an appeal through the shoegazer-style washes of ‘Tracy’, and its digital tide of effects pedals that layered the endless ’Mogwai Fear Satan’, ‘Come On Die Young’ shows the band wanting to simply plug in and play. Opener ‘Punk Rock’ features untreated clean guitars chiming in minor-key over a speech by...
Published on 11 Mar. 2006 by Steven Davies
11 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dont start here.....Mogwai are better than this
Having seen Mogwai live (a great experience) I came searching Amazon for the best thing to buy. This was recommended. I spent 3 months listening trying to work out why I had liked them live as this was (mostly) very boring.
In desperation, I switched to their new album "Happy Songs..." and within days was captivated. Since then I have seen them live again and...
Published on 20 July 2004 by simonf
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Defiant beauty,
If Young Team gained an appeal through the shoegazer-style washes of ‘Tracy’, and its digital tide of effects pedals that layered the endless ’Mogwai Fear Satan’, ‘Come On Die Young’ shows the band wanting to simply plug in and play. Opener ‘Punk Rock’ features untreated clean guitars chiming in minor-key over a speech by Iggy Pop. The band’s trademark plaintive emotion, often covered below layers of feedback and delay on the previous album, is here bravely on show: ‘the brilliant music of a genius, myself’ Iggy Pop declares; you sense Mogwai would say the same themselves; if their music did not already do that for them.
‘Cody’ is a rare vocal track that sounds like a country lament from a ghost town, straight after the gold rush. Indeed, the sharply picked minor-key guitars could easily be Neil Young on Zuma: just darker. In the background a tasteful pedal-steel howls mournfully, as Stuart Braithwaite’s vocal sounds like all of Glasgow propping up the bar, and the soft, lugubrious music emphasises an overall half-drunken, half-romantic stupor.
If ‘cody’ is a bar-room howl, then ‘Helps Both Ways’ is the loner sloping home to his empty house and falling on the couch in front of the telly; almost literally, as an American football game plays in the background for the entire song. Again there is a clean guitar, but this time a nicely muted horn section plays over the top to the pace of a fugue. The song is strangely entrancing, a fine demonstration of how classical instruments are used in post-rock as not just to fill in the gaps, but to add something to the music.
‘Year 2000’ and ‘Kappa’ propound the sparse, ennui-rock further, the first with layers of metallic sounding guitars and samples, the second with a definite Slint-feel that is slightly atonal. The songs feel like a pair, but also as more an exercise in sound and unfettered production than anything else. The atmosphere of locale created by the previous tracks is in this way slightly compromised, but not totally.
‘Waltz for Aidan’ returns us to this drunken, woozy feel; and it’s sumptuous, aching melody, that finally melts into long country lanes of delay is one of the most beautiful moments on the album. The song is overdosed on wistful melancholy, and leads into the rather tenderly titled ‘may nothing but happiness come through your door’: the poignancy evident in the title is played out by a solitary guitar, that builds in volume as a clattering drum beat turns it to an impassioned shout: the rage finally collapses into a pool of soft keys, as a phone message plays pathetically in the background. At these junctures, we get this sense of a narrative running through this album, perhaps a person who has lost everything, and that this is a journey through his solipsism: the barren nature of the production enforces this brilliantly.
After the distorted piano interlude of ‘Oh! How the Dogs Stack Up’, the album enters into its tour de force: a triptych of lengthy songs - ‘Ex-Cowboy’, ‘Chocky’ and ‘Christmas Steps’ that each demonstrate Mogwai’s outreaching talent. In the first, a loose bass groove uncovers swathes of sound, from the beginning violins to towering guitars that finally rage to the surface, coating the soundscape in nightmarish entrancing squalls of feedback: the result is paralysingly beautiful, like staring over a precipice. The following number ‘chocky’ demonstrates the band’s sincerity of feeling as a plaintive piano melody unfolds alongside ascending guitars, the song drifts on like a journey through the hills, before foundering in a fog of static. ‘Christmas Steps’ is far better than it’s E.P. counterpart, sounding better with the lighter, less prominent guitars; it feels like someone picking their way through a snowbound landscape.
The closer is slightly disappointing, but this is a great album, an important album. I can’t understand why people see ‘Young Team’ as the flagship album: for me it is ‘Come On Die Young’ - the band took a brave risk with eschewing their early stomp box fascination, and this album demonstrates that they could make the most battered sounding guitar cry.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Come On, It's Good Stuff,
Mogwai has created a fine record in `Come On Die Young'.
The album seems to fall into two distinct parts. The first seven tracks are atmospheric pieces largely notable for their restrained instrumentation and gentle melodic threads. `Waltz for Aidan' is beguilingly beautiful and `Cody' has whispered, dream-like vocals.
After the scratchy piano of ` Oh! How the Dogs Stack Up' the band launch into three lengthy tracks which make up nearly half of the disc's total playing time. Here the feel of the music is looser and more expressive, guitars are louder and freer; classic post-rock territory perhaps.
In my opinion, the CD is most enjoyable where the band create music with strong melody and atmosphere at the same time. My favourite track is `May Nothing But Happiness...' which features a delicate percussion melody interspersed with an increasingly strident guitar motif. The effect is haunting and tremendously atmospheric. The end of the track carries a cleverly sampled repeating automated telephone message; you can almost picture an empty hotel room in the dead of night after some horrible incident
The album's weak side is its length, as at 67 minutes it struggles a bit to maintain the quality. I know from reading other reviews that I am in the minority, but `Christmas Steps' seems to be prime culprit of this. The middle part of the track is impressive with its staccato guitar and percussion, but why the tedious, barely-there intro/outro which adds nothing? The track could easily be trimmed by five minutes.
Don't be too put off, though, this is a very enjoyable CD from a band at the top of their game. Well worth buying if you appreciate cleverly crafted music.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Bit Special,
I saw Mogwai a couple of years back and I don't think they played anything off this album, which might suggest it isn't much cop. A couple of listens reveals the reason however: this is not a bunch of singles in the same way as Mr Beast or Happy Songs, this is a body of work that needs to be listened to as a whole to truly appreciate it. The mood is a mix of the melancholy and the sinister but it works surprisingly well. I find it is one of those album that withstands repeated listening - there is always something new to latch onto and there isn't a single minute of filler in the entire 70+ minutes. I wish I could same the same for some of their other albums because when they are on form, they produce some stunning moments of beauty. An album the is most definitely in my top 3 (with Endtroducing and Surfer Rosa) and one that puts any number of limp imitators to shame. Classic miserablism.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of '99,
It's difficult to know where to start when describing such music as this. It's difficult to do with an aural vocabulary. I'm tempted to start getting poetic and metaphorical. It's watching the sky on a clear night out in the country. It's the sea washing through you. It's being sucked in to a black hole. This stuff is damn well SPIRITUAL, man!
Drawn out, mesmerising contemplative moments contrast with intense bursts of power. Tension and release are integral elements of this album. Tension is built up in various ways such as ingenious harmonic progressions using increasingly dischordal harmony (such as in Year 2000 Non-Compliant Cardia), and general, gradual build up of sounds and volume which erupt in to a barrage of noise (such as on the utterly brilliant Ex-Cowboy).
This album is slower, quieter, more held back than Young Team. Whereas Young Team rocks out with the loud intense bits right from the start, Come on Die Young builds up gradually over it's 68 minutes. It starts peacefully with Punk Rock - a relatively short piece. This is also a pretty unremarkable introduction as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't take long for Mogwai to hit their stride; CODY is wonderful. This features the only example of singing on the album, with Stuart Braithwait harmonising beautifully with himself thanks to the wonders of multi-track recording. This is sad. It's mournful, ghostly singing over equally emotive guitar. Year 2000... is a small taste of what is to come at the climax of the album. Kappa and Waltz for Aidan are a short, peaceful lull before the build up begins with May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door and Oh! How the Dogs Stack Up, the latter ending with the Mogwai brand of white noise which links in to Ex-Cowboy: the beginning of the afore mentioned climax, and definately the greatest piece of music that Mogwai have ever produced. I really, REALLY like this piece!! It's the basic quiet, simple start, built gradually up to something immense which Mogwai do oh so well. But it's better than the rest. It's ripe, it's perfectly proportioned, the mixing is spot on. It's like a drug, it's mind altering. It makes an otherwise reasonable, laid back person like me want to destroy everything. It's something else. It's the first time that the beast is properly let loose on the album, and it roars and snarls; bites and scratches for the next half an hour or so over Ex-Cowboy, Christmas Steps and Chocky. Along with CODY these are the stand out tracks on the album, and they are brilliant. Christmas Steps builds slowly in a similar way as Ex-Cowboy to a short, sharp burst of terrifying energy before slowly withering away with a quiet, reverb drenched violin for company. Chocky begins with an awful sounding honky-tonk piano over a layer of fuzz. Gradually the fuzz takes over and carries through to the main body of the piece which contains the piano along with the guitars, etc. The music builds in layers, becoming more and more intense until the music gets too taut and snaps, leaving just the piano and the fuzz again. The album ends with a short come-down piece which features a lovely trombone (I think part).
May Nothing... is the only real weakish spot for me. It just goes on too long.
Although I think that Come on Die Young is Mogwai's finest album to date, it probably isn't a good place for Mogwai newies to begin. For a first taste go to Young Team. Once you've done this and discovered how incredibly fantastic it is, move on to Come on Die Young and adore it for ever an'ever an'ever.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Mogwai's greatest album.,
While there are great moments on every single Mogwai release (indeed,they are
one of the more reliable bands out there)for me Come On Die Young remains their
finest album.It starts with a recording of an Iggy Pop interview in which he
describes what 'Punk Rock' is,accompanied by a bed of acoustic guitars and
ends with a trumpet-led lament called,brilliantly,Punk Rock/Puff Daddy/ANTiCHRiST.
There are few other post-rock bands that manage to actually manage to convey
any emotion in instrumental passages-Godspeed You! Black Emperor being a
notable exception.This is a classic album that i heartily recommend.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very dark - just how I like it,
Previous to this I had never heard any of Mogwai's material. I bought this simply on the basis of recommendation and comparison to the likes of other post-rock protangonists such as Godspeed You Black Emperor. It bothers me now that it took me so long to take the plunge on Mogwai, for this album is truely fantastic and everything you could want from a post-rock record. I do not know if this is Mogwai's best work or not, but I'm sure it must rank highly.
This is the kind of dark, sinister, slow paced music that I love. It builds slowly, and leaves you in anticipation of what is to come. The first listen of this record in particular is really special. Some of the tracks are played over backgrounds which include, among others, commentary on an American Football game. But don't let that put you off, somehow it works. There are few lyrics. In fact all the tracks just seem to blend in with each other seemlessly, as if they were just played out altogther naturally without any previous thought.
It is the climax to this record which clinches the five stars. Christmas Steps is possibly the greatest post-rock track I've ever heard and is absolutely epic. The whole album is epic, and deserves the attention of anyone who is familiar with the offerings of post-rock and all that the genre means. Well done Mogwai, I shall shortly be investigating the rest of your catalogue.
5.0 out of 5 stars the kings of chilled tunes,
This review is from: Come on Die [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This album is by far the best mogwai have to offer in my opinion. This albums opening track 'punk rock:' features a sample of iggy pop over the top of a really chillin guitar riff ( riffs which come a plenty on this album!) it really kicks the album off to a great start, some tracks blend in to each other but i think they are really supposed to, they couldnt be done any other way. i think the albums peak is track number 9 'ex-cowboy', its one of the most chilling melodic pieces of music ive ever heard, if ur even considering buying this album then go for it, i promise u wont regret it.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond mere Music,
By A Customer
Mogwai came along at a time in my life that was perfectly pitched to warmly recieve their outpouring of melancholy power. This album is recommended to those who have had enough of the shallow and incomprehensible shock-tactics of new-generation metal and rock acts. Mogwai combine everything we love about the rock scene - the anger, energy, the roomshaking guitar riffs - with everything that is great about music - the raw emotion, the melancholy nostalgia, the moments of clarity that make music human. Each track tells a story that is unique to you yet universal in theme - all without words. Incidentally, if you really want to feel Mogwai's ability to shake your bones and bring a tear to your eye, catch them live on one of their rare tours. Be prepared to stand still for two hours but feel like you have travelled across the Universe - they are that awesome. When I saw them, the last twenty minutes was a wall of white noise and light that just transported me...
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb.,
By A Customer
After 'Young Team', a superb album in its own right, Mogwai have again produced a deep mix of atmospherically brilliant music. One of the best albums I have bought, every song on 'Come on Die Young' is beautifully mixed and builds up from simple but exceptionally melodic guitar riffs to powerful distortion driven riffs, with some excellent drumming. 'Cody', 'Helps Both Ways' and 'Christmas Steps' are particularly worthy of note. You can't help but feel in a different world when you listen!
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful swathes of white noise and melodic soundscapes,
By A Customer
Having just returned from the Mogwai-curated All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in Camber Sands I can testify to Mogwai's greatness. Drawing on the influences of post-rock pioneers Slint and Tortoise and incorporating the attitude of "Funhouse"-era Stooges, they manage to surpass these gargantuan starting-points, creating an album drenched in passion and beauty. CODY sees Mogwai reaching new heights, building on the quiet-loud Pixies-influenced Young Team and No Education = No Future (Fuck the Curfew) EP - both of which are highly recommended. Kicking off with the low-key melancholy of "punk rock:" which features delicate guitars over a recording of an Iggy Pop interview,it is clear that Barry Burns' addition has added a whole new dimension to their sound. Although Mogwai traditionally eschew singing, "cody"'s fragile and emotional outpouring fits perfectly with the swaying steel guitars to conjure emotions and memories you never felt music could inspire. "Helps both ways" features the repeated beauty of a guitar refrain augmented with brass over a commentary of an American football game. "year 2000 non-compliant cardia" sees the sound swell with feedback before returning to a melodic lull, a process that continues with "kappa." "oh! how the dogs stack up", one of the best (if shortest) cuts on the album, is heralded with disembowled reberbing voices and a piano refrain with strange background noise and I challenge anyone not to sway their head in time with "ex-cowboy." The album's zenith is the live favourite "christmas steps," originally featured on the Fuck the Curfew EP, which demonstrates Mogwai's pure power - words cannot do it justice, and "punk rock/puff daddy,ANTICHRIST" finishes CODY with a haunting note. Overall, the album is one of extreme beauty and, paradoxically, delicate-power. I recommend this record to any true music-lover, but for the true experience see them live. Mogwai are proof of the addage good thing come to those who wait, and your patience will be rewarded by layers of ethereal sound and furious noise. I also recommend 'EP' and the material they are currently working on (which I've heard live).
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