12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Best of '99,
This review is from: Come On Die Young (Audio CD)
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.