I'll admit that until The Returned started on TV, all I knew about Mogwai was the fact that they had a pretty awesome name. But the music for the TV program stuck out for me from the first episode, especially the wonderfully delicate yet punchy opening credits theme.
I'm already a fan of ambient music from the likes of Brian Eno, so if I had to make a comparison I'd describe Mogwai's soundtrack as being a darker cousin to Eno's stuff. Most of the tracks are quietly ominous, but easy to listen to and enjoy for their inventive and memorable melodies. There's really only one *uplifting* track, 'Special N' - most definitely one of my favourites, and a nice refresher before plunging back into the brooding mystery of The Returned's other music. Aside from 'Special N', the stand-out tracks are 'Hungry Face' (the opening credits theme), 'Modern' (very catchy electronic track) and 'Wizard Motor'. You've got to love the names. 'Wizard Motor' is surely the most recognisable track after 'Hungry Face'; it accompanies many of The Returned's more dramatic scenes, and whenever I listen to it I can't avoid remembering the end of the first episode when we get a disturbingly immersive view of Camille's school coach plunging down the mountainside.
The only track I don't like out of the whole album is 'What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?'. I found hearing a lyrical song at the very end of an instrumental album to be jarring, and it wasn't helped by the singer's rather drawling, monotone delivery. Apart from that, 'Les Revenants' is an unblemished piece of musical delight, great for listening to in the background (especially for writing) or just listening for the sake of listening. Recommended.