Mogwai – Music Industry 3 Fitness Industry 1 EP (4 stars)

Ariel Pink – pom pom

Glasgow band take new musical direction with latest release that includes three Rave Tapes remixes

(Rock Action)

Less than a year after their unexpected but well-deserved most successful record yet (eighth album Rave Tapes broke the UK top ten), the ever hard-grafting Mogwai are back with an EP which leads off with probably the most commercial song they’ve ever recorded. Already being hammered by BBC 6 Music, ‘Teenage Exorcists’ rips up the template which may be familiar to many, to the extent that even fans of the group might not have recognised them on first listen. Then again, despite the prevailing reputation they have for glacier-sized instrumentals, they’ve never been a group to accept pigeonholing lightly.

‘Teenage Exorcists’ skips along on a tumultuous squall of guitar that is, fair enough, not a million miles from what Mogwai usually do. Yet there’s a mood here they’re not famed for, a kind of wide-eyed glee which is more often than not tempered by the sheer gravity of the music. Amid it all there’s a voice: maybe Barry Burns, more likely Stuart Braithwaite, the recording’s just murky enough to be unclear. ‘I said nothing / I said too much / I think you are a good, good person,’ it says, then over and over, a bittersweet mantra: ‘it’s all dark and uncertain / an apology accepted’.
Roll it round in your head and you’ve probably heard it, right? It’s melodic and memorable and gratifyingly noisy. It is – and we never thought we’d write these words in connection with Mogwai – a radio hit. The ground has shifted and new doors have opened; hopefully they step through. Elsewhere they’re perhaps on more familiar ground with the original back-up tracks ‘History Day’ (a foreboding, murky slice of instrumental acoustronica) and ‘HMP Sean William Ryder’ (takes the Happy Mondays singer’s name brilliantly in vain, sounds more like Mogwai doing the Doors), as well as three excellent Rave Tapes remixes from Blanck Mass, Pye Corner Audio and Nils Frahm.

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