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Mogwai :: The Hawk is Howling (Album Review)

Whereas Trent Reznor and his Nine Inch Nails serve as guide dogs for walks through the blindness of general psychosis (or the gratifying ascent from within it)–Mogwai excel as topographers for the complex Scottish psyche. Which is to say, a state of mind cultivated on the whiskey and ale soaked Sauchiehall Street–replete with conversations people have in early morning hours or the general wordless frustrations of staring into dawn after a night of pointless drinking. Whereas Reznor’s recent forays into instrumental work have received criticism for length and lack of direction, Mogwai have spent nearly 15 years perfecting the art, composing an LP of aptly directional noise. Listening is almost as good as treading their turf (which is good, because with today’s airfares, it’s probably the closest you’ll get to reproducing the sensation of Scottish travel). The Hawk is Howling is Mogwai at its best. Slow rolling like a shadow on a Scottish summer day, it’s the music for impending darkness. Compelling in every sense of the word.