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September 22, 2008

Mogwai still doesn’t care what you think

The Scottish band debuts The Hawk Is Howling this month, making it their seventh L.P. and the first full-scale album since 2006's Mr. Beast. This 10-track album with songs averaging around six minutes is quite simply more of the same from the masters of brooding, post-punk instrumentals. Band founders Stuart Braithwaite and Dominic Atchison list computers along with guitar and drum when asked about the musical tools they use and have stated that their song titles have nothing to do with the songs themselves. True to form, the track list of The Hawk Is Howling includes such gems as the opener, "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead," and "I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School." The Batcat single that preceded the album comes with the impossible "Stupid Prick Gets Chased By the Police and Loses His Slut Girlfriend" (which, by the way, is the loveliest song of the single).

The Hawk Is Howling opens tamely, with long, sprawling lines of sound that bring to mind the rock 'n' roll of ranches and open skies. That's fitting, considering the bald eagle that glares belligerently at you from the cover. Past the midway point, "Kings Meadow" pleases with its meditative predictability, while "I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School" is at turns messy and sweet. "Scotland's Shame" and "Thank You Space Expert" confirm that this album is really the closest thing you'll find to the soundtrack of a space opera.

And if you're undecided as to whether you'll be merely sampling this album or giving it your cash-backed support, know that Mogwai threatened to release the home addresses of the Glasgow Rangers F.C. first team if Batcat didn't break into the top 10 charts. There's no telling what they'll stoop to if their full-length album doesn't go at least one better.

Mogwai and Fuck Buttons play at Congress Theater on September 26.

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