- Vinyl (22 Sept. 2008)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Wall of Sound
- ASIN: B001C4Z7CY
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,344 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
The Hawk Is Howling [VINYL]
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If at first, Mogwai's sixth album The Hawk Is Howling feels mostly remarkable for its song titleswhat other quote-unquote 'experimental' band would christen their majestic soundscapes with names like "Daphne and the Brain", "The Sun Smells Too Loud", or "I Love You, I'm Going to Blow up Your School"?repeated listens see this record find a neat place in the band's canon, somewhere between the sonic bliss of Happy Songs for Happy People and the intricate melancholia of Mr Beast. Solely instrumental, it's an album that follows the latter-day Mogwai template of gently undulating peaks and troughs, rather than mountains and precipices. Which might sound less than scintillating, but these days Mogwai are less about dynamite dynamics and more about intricate melodies and songs that slowly, but grandly, wind their way to conclusions. The opening "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" starts with a gentle minor-key keyboard piece by Barry Burns, but gradually builds in mass to a white-out of sparkling guitars. "The Sun Smells Too Loud" is a more synthetic-sounding piece doused in thick, fuzzy effects and yearning melodies. Meanwhile, "Batcat" proves the band can still flex a muscle, a squalling barnstormer with a Hassidic-tinged melody that recalls "My Father, My King". Louis Pattison
Top Customer Reviews
A bit of Sonic Youth, a bit of shoegazing, a bit of Pink Floyd, it even reminds me a bit of some Pat Metheny stuff. Whatever it is it's worth listening too. Buy without hesitation if you like proper grown up sounds.
At their magnificent best, Mogwai have brought that polite (a less than apt word in the context of Mogwai's music, I grant you) reminder to mind many times since "Young Team" offered an exciting alternative to the dying embers of Britpop 11 years ago. That and every subsequent release have been studded with moments that have enough power and beauty to leave listeners awestruck.
What makes "The Hawk is Howling" Mogwai's most satisfying recording to-date is that over its 63 minutes or so, the feeling of awe it generates refuses to leave you. There are simply no tracks here destined for the skip button on future listens. The opening track, "I'm Jim Morrisson, I'm Dead", devastates with it's sheer momentum and from there on, through a number of fluctuating moods, the album takes you on a journey you'll want to repeat many, many times.
By the time the truly majestic wash of "Scotland's Shame", the eighth track here, was enveloping me, all thoughts of resistance were futile and Mogwai seemed like the only band who ever mattered. They aren't of course, in as much as nobody is, but it can certainly feel that way at times.
Others, i.e. Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed... have offered great work in the time since Slint's "Spiderland". However, Mogwai have always displayed a real understanding of how to get to the point economically and how to use melody to generate real emotion. These ten pieces synthesise all they have learned and that alone should be recommendation enough. I know I'll be revisiting this beautiful album for the rest of my life.
This album manages to be both what you'd expect, yet at the same time still has teh ability to suprise:
Dark, haunting opener 'Im jim morrison, im dead' is built around teh time honoured build/repition theme with a maudlin piano thrown in, 'batcat' is scuzzy and dirgy while 'daphne and the brain' is short and full of brilliant electro flecks (that do indeed pepper parts of teh album to great affect)
the real stand out tracks for me though are the melancholic post rock of 'scotland's shame' which builds nicely, like an instrumental A PERFECT CIRLCE song I suppose, with good use of wah guitar towards the end for tension....and 'The sun smells too loud' which is now my fave mogwai song. it starts with a sequenced synth bass and electro percussion straight from the 80s and then just goes straight into the stratosphere!
It's bizarely up lifting/uptempo for mogwai, you can even dance to it! Its also got some lovely repeating guitar lines.
The album continues to follow the same pattern as Mr Beast with Danphe and the Brain, one of many lumbering giants on this album, and it, like the others lumber along pleasantly for the most part, with occasional distortion. This one in particular reminds me of the Cure circa Faith / Carnage Visors, though without Robert Smith obviously as the entire album is instrumental.
There is one track on this album which has no precursors, The Sun Smells Too Loud, which is a bright, poppy tune with a strident beat. Not really sure about it to be honest, hope it's just an experiment rather than a new direction.
In general though this is another strong album from Mogwai, though not a great one in comparison with previous work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ITEM ARRIVED IN GOOD TIME AND ORDER. I FIRST CAME ACROSS MOGWAI VIA A CHANNEL 4 TV SERIES "THE RETURNED". Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2014 by Huntana
After "come on die young", this is a second masterpiece of these Scottish noisemakers. They can attack your ears (specially live!) and touch your heart in one piece. Read morePublished on 25 Oct. 2012 by dre de laat
Not so much slowly slowly then crashy and fast as previous Mogwai albums but its no worse off for that! Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2012 by Amazon Customer
I have to admit I was left feeling a tad uninspired after hearing leaked versions of `Batcat' and the horrible `Sun Smells To Loud' and I feared Mogwai were going to be another... Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 2012 by Micky67
Up until this release Mogwai have developed and refined their music and sound from album to album. Peaking with the sublime "Mr Beast". Read morePublished on 7 Jan. 2009 by Øystein Bye
Listened to this on the bands myspace page and then bought the album the very next day its superb.Stand out tracks for me(and they're all good)are Scotlands shame,the precipice and... Read morePublished on 31 Oct. 2008 by P. G. Luckley
as a fan of mogwai for years now i always anticipate their albums release. although the cover scares me alot i still had no hesitation in buying it. Read morePublished on 12 Oct. 2008 by J. Winterflood