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MOGWAI the hawk is howling 2xLP

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MOGWAI the hawk is howling 2xLP (wall of sound records)

The new Mogwai album is here complete with cover art that's either horrendous or brilliant depending on which of us in the office you happen to be asking.. Personally I just can't make my mind up. 'The Hawk is Howling' is a good record but one or two departures aside it's really just the same one they've been making since 2000. The standout for me is the excellent 'The Sun Smells Too Loud' which I plan on playing at our next Armley beach party while we all play near-naked volleyball like we're in Top Gun (you should see the jiggle on Brian's baps when he serves) and it's probably no coincidence that it's the one that sounds the least like anything else they've produced. Obviously the result is still better than most bands out there and streets ahead of the ENDLESS stream of imitators that have continued to be vomited out by the world over the course of their lifetime but still, anyone hoping that this would be the one that really cemented their status as one of the greats is going to be feeling deflated yet again. They've still not come close to topping the stuff they did prior to the turn of the century and sadly I'm starting to think that there won't ever be a real record of what the band always seemed to be capable of. Their live shows used to be incredible, transcendent experiences which suggested countless directions and forms their music could take, but it seems this whole side of the band is destined to be lost in the ether as they settle into providing a good, solid listen every couple of years. The brilliant, organ drone-infused 'Black Spider 2' from the Zidane soundtrack suggested to me that they might still have something spectacular in the closet but sadly there's been precious little evidence of it since. This band definitely had at least one masterpiece in them and for me it's one of modern music's greatest disappointments that we'll probably never see it. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with this LP whatsoever, it's good in fact. It's just Mogwai. And it's a bit weird that they're on Wall of Sound now, innit? They might've at least put a token big beat banger on there.