on 29 March 2002
Some five years after the issue of this, Mogwai's debut album, and the Glaswegian five-piece have long established themselves as arguably Britain's most popular left-field rock band. Perhaps, then, it's time to reappraise the record which the band themselves retrospectively described as 'rushed', but which received universally ecstatic reviews on release.
In the end, though, reappraisal is unnecessary, for 'Young Team' was and remains a spectacular, incandescent rock record. There aren't many bands in Britain who are capable of both the shuddering death-metal of 'Like Herod''s loud bits and the poignant, crushing 'Tracy'. Compared with second album 'Come On Die Young' it sometimes seems a little under-realised - perhaps a result of the aforementioned rushing - but as 'Mogwai Fear Satan' envelops your stereo for fifteen utterly compelling minutes, it doesn't really matter.
on 8 November 2000
You may have heard a little about them in the music press, their tiffs with most of the recording artists in the world today, their reluctance to sell out (who can blame them?) and general praise stacked upon the sounds they create. Currently they are making quiet things, before though, there was a lot of loud thrown in aswell. Anyway, the record opens with a girl failing indescribably to put words to how relentlessly beautiful this music really is. She stutters and stumbles, the scripted words too much for her, and it sums this record up perfectly. You will, I guarantee jump in fright at 'Like herod' when the riffs kick in again, you will well up to the beauty of 'Tracy' and you will suddenly find yourself very alone if you play 'with portfolio' in the company of others. As track 9 shuffles away the chords to 'Mogwai fear satan' start to trickle through, words start to fail you, it is 16 minutes of listening to an immense storm, the noise of the earth as it shows us just how powerful physics can be. If we were to have a musical definition of the word 'music' then this really should be it. So simple yet so powerful, only the euphoric rush of 'helicon 1' can come close to it. If that was on this record then we might aswell have given in and stopped writing music, it isn't so we try to keep up. Beautiful life affirming music that really deserves the credit it gets, there is no other way of describing it.
on 27 January 2014
Mogwai are masters of understated noise, beautiful noise. One of just a few bands that can blend delicate instrumentation and sporadic vocals with an unadulterated guitar cacophony and not have the listener reaching for the off button before the end of track 2.
To all intents and purposes, this is an instrumental album. The human voice, where it makes an appearance, is often spoken word and hidden so far down in the mix it is impossible to understand (and not just because of the Scottish accents). If nothing more, it serves as proof to the doubting listener that humans were indeed present during the recording of this album. And here is a health warning for you: just as you should never return to a lighted firework, so should you never assume a Mogwai track has petered out to a slow rumble with a soft hi-hat accompaniment: you are likely to get your face blown off, or at least lose an ear.
“Yes! I am a long way from home” is the perfect start, as Mogwai ease the listener into their sound world, giving just a glimpse of what is coming, trying hard not to scare them off too soon. “Like Herod”, the first of many highlights, has a barely concealed aggression, like a tiger pounding its cage – just when you think it has fallen asleep, it pounces. Yes! it is a barrage of drums and guitars, but so much more than just that.
On to the rest of the highlights: “Tracy” is almost a lullaby, not going anyway but maybe that’s just because it’s already there; “Summer”, if my memory can be relied upon, was something of a hit back in 1997 when the album was first released, and remains a highlight with its alternating soft/loud-ness which could be clichéd but isn’t; and “With Portfolio” offers another treat for the ears – were they testing a jet engine in the studio? The listener is assaulted by the noise, but still feels the desire to say thank you afterwards.
“R U Still In 2 It?” has a Sonic Youth-like atmosphere, and boasts something like a conventional lyric albeit delivered by someone just woken from a decade-long nap. “A Cheery Wave …” is quietly reminiscent of DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing…” album and some moments of the UNKLE collaboration, but is a little too brief to do itself justice. Such a criticism cannot be levelled at “Mogwai Fear Satan” which closes the album in suitably exuberant style, guitars and drums battling it out for supremacy but allowing the flute to nip in right at the death to clinch the win for Mogwai and their fantastic “Young Team”.
on 18 March 2007
This is simply an awesome album. Words fail to do it justice but i am compelled to offer up a few, because it is so worthy of respect. Personally, this is my favourite Mogwai album, although i am a fan of all their albums, i don't think they have done better, before or since. The slow build-up of intensity in certain songs is incredible. The songs range from pieces of joyuous, sublime chilled out beauty to towering walls of sheer aggressive noise, often within the same song. I think 'Yes! I am a long way from home' would take some beating as an opening track. Best heard in the dark through headphones, when i listen to it this way i feel i could hear it again and again and it not lose any of its power and beauty. The same goes for 'Tracy'. These are two of the first Mogwai songs i heard and they still have the same effect on me 10 years later. The portions of phone conversation on both tracks merely adds to the atmosphere. The only negative thing i can say about the album is i feel the unlistenable noise which ends 'With Portfolio' is utterly pointless. Why not just leave it as a short piano interlude like 'Radar Maker' or 'A cheery wave from stranded youngsters'?? Anyway, after the said meaningless racket, comes a phenomenal trio of songs, the gorgeous 'R u still in 2 it', then 'cheery wave', segueing seamlessly into the stunning 'Mogwai Fear Satan'. To sum up, this is an incredible album bookended by two songs of immense beauty and power, and inbetween, a feritable feast of musical alchemy. Almost too good to be true
on 21 December 2000
If you really enjoy music, the sort of stuff you have to work to "get" (like MBV's Loveless) Mogwai Young Team is an album that you must have; it will change the way you hear. Needless to say, it's probably the best thing the band has done. And at 65 or so minutes, you definitely get more than what you pay for.
The album begins with a woman's barely audible thoughts about Mogwai. If you turn up the volume and listen to what she's saying a few times you'll get to the heart of what the band is all about: "Music can put the human being in a trance-like state," she says, "because music is bigger than words and wider than fiction. ...if the stars had to sound," she adds later, "it would sound like this." Exactly! And if you don't come to feel this way after a few listens to it... well, then you don't deserve to own the album.
"Yes! I am a long way from home" is great. "Like Herod" takes some getting used to; the song is better heard live, because the loud and quiet parts of it seem to fit better that way. "Katrien" is the weakest song on the disk; it's not that it's bad, but just that it seems to lack the creativity and passion you can really feel in most of the other songs. "Radar Maker" is a beautiful, almost haunting segue into "Tracy," one of the best songs on the album. The beginning and end of "Tracy" contain portions of phone conversations about a fight between several of the members of the band. It seems Stuart punched Dom... Between these samples the song itself is incredible. It may sound cliche, but words fail to capture what the music itself conveys. "Summer" is an okay song, but like "Katrien" it doesn't really move me. "With Portfolio" starts with some quiet piano but builds to an almost unbearable, churning sonic screech. This song makes you question the idea of music; it's difficult to listen to, but really shouldn't be missed, odd as that may sound. "R U still in 2 it?" is a quiet song about a love gone bad, the only piece on the album with proper vocals. It's nice, and after a number of listens the vocals become understandable and provide some good laughs: "we should go into town and spend some money..." "A Cheery Wave from Stranded Youngsters" is one of the best song titles I've ever heard, and the song is excellent as well. Like "Radar Maker" it works well as a segue into the long, long "Mogwai Fear Satan," but also stands well as its own song. Put it on the end of a mix you're making for an uninitiated friend and watch what happens. "Fear Satan" is good, but takes some time to really appreciate. At first you'll think it's just another lengthy rock song, but after further listening you will get caught up in the last 7 or so minutes of it, where things quiet down and what sounds like a wind instrument works it's way in.
What more can be said? "If the stars had to sound, it would sound like this."
on 12 March 2000
Mogwai are a band I heard a bit about but not actually heard so I took the plunge with this album. What can I say? It is an absolutely stunning and brilliantly constructed album that is the perfect soundtrack to whatever mood I am in. Describing individual tracks seems a bit pointless as the whole album flows seamlessly. One of the most beautiful and evocative collections of music that I have ever heard.
on 9 May 2002
What can I say? Mogwai are music genius'. The first time you listen to Mogwai, you have to listen to them with an open mind. Mogwai- you either love them or you hate them. Young team is a fantastic album. So incredibly relaxing, scary, blissful, hard, peaceful and dramatic. Yes! I am a long way from home is perfect. Amazing rushing guitar riffs, soaring high into the air. Like Herod, is beautifly relaxing and then very scary. This is the only song i have ever listend to that has made me jump out of my skin! And the godly Mogwai fear Satan. It is just... oh there are not words to describe this song. It truly makes you feel funny inside! FANBLOODYTASTIC. Mogwai are genius' I bow my head to you.
on 29 May 2005
This is a brilliant record! It sums up what they were aiming towards with their ealrier recordings (although who is really one to say that). It's Epic yet refraining from being pretentious, an excelent example of this would be the 11 minute long version of "Like Herod", their homage to Slint with ear blistering climaxes. This is contrasted with lo-fi relaxed pieces such as "Tracy". I do have a few problems though, the amount of wa*k bands this album has spawned off, the way you can't really listen to it with other people around, and the fact that they haven't done any better since.
on 26 November 2013
Bought after a reading a reference to the track Fear Satan in the novel "Pandaemonium" and it didn't disappoint. Also nice to be aware of Mogwai's stuff before they came to greater public attention doing the soundtrack to the french series "The Returned".
on 29 June 2001
This is a very experimental, space rock. Expect white noise and lo-fi tracks (I tought my cd was defective because it sounded so low). I bought this cd because the reviews were geat.. but they didn't warn me about what to expect here, I'm not dissapointed either this is just too progresive and I'm not still prepared for the next step (I'm still trying to like Kid A from Radiohead).
But if you want complex, intertwining set of crawling instrumentals, shimmering soundscapes, and shards of noise look no further. This cd starts very slowly and at times it seems that they are not changing the pace...
Listen to it first and don't believe all the reviews posted around, this is a very special kind of music... not for me tough.