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Mogwai - Mr. Beast (Cover Artwork)

Mogwai

Mogwai: Mr. BeastMr. Beast (2006)
Matador Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Glasgow's Mogwai are, in my mind, one of the better examples of the sheer power of instrumental music. They, along with Pelican and Mono are among the more interesting bands working without the net of a vocalist. The result is that the guitarist cannot repeat the same chords and trust that the vocal.
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Glasgow's Mogwai are, in my mind, one of the better examples of the sheer power of instrumental music. They, along with Pelican and Mono are among the more interesting bands working without the net of a vocalist. The result is that the guitarist cannot repeat the same chords and trust that the vocalist will keep the song interesting; and instead of one instrument -- the vocals -- to carry a song, you're suddenly forced to choose between four or five.

Over their decade-long existence, the band has toyed with bombast (Young Team, Come on Die Young) and restraint (Happy Songs and Rock Action) and has been particularly adept at ensuring that the emphasis is on the rock in post-rock. A half-dozen albums that have been starkly different yet clearly influenced by the loud/soft dynamics of the Pixies, the walls of sound of My Bloody Valentine and a steadfast allegiance to the brilliant noise of Touch and Go's Slint.

While Rock Action and Happy Songs were solid recordings, they did come from a particularly quiet, albeit quite beautiful place. So with Mr.Beast, the band's fifth proper recording, the band had promised to bring back much of the pyrotechnics and power that many felt was missing from those two records. In some cases, this is true, but in many others, the sound is not so much like the swirling compositions of Young Team as it is like a proper rock album, complete with almost conventional song structures and some of the more straightforward riff-based tracks that they've produced.

The opener, "Auto Rock" is subdued, all piano and slowly burning crescendo, but the next is an economical three-and-a-half minutes, and gets straight to the point. When the band slows down for some big guitar crunch, you can almost imagine the vocalist taking a sip of water. The next few songs maintain much of this feel; the band is writing songs, not "pieces" anymore. It isn't until "Friend of the Night" that the band breaks the five-minute mark, and produces a song of the kind of epic proportions we expect.

"I Choose Horses," the second to last track on a very short album, includes guest vocals from Japanese hardcore/noise act Envy, Tetsuya Fukagawa. If Mogwai weren't already bursting with credibility, spoken word from a group of unsung heroes like Envy certainly wouldn't hurt. The track manages a kind of cinematic flair, like the narration at the end of some epic film. The closer, "We're No Here" is a song that Rivers Cuomo has been dying to write since Pinkerton, albeit without vocals.

Overall, the album is distinctly different than anything the band has done before; an emphasis on more conventional song structures and the newfound ability to pack so much more into a shorter track makes for a very compelling listen for those new to the band. The renewed emphasis of both explosive dynamics and strong melodies is likewise exciting for long-time fans.

A highly satisfying, highly recommended full-length and one of the first great albums of 2006.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
HeresLookinAtYou (April 1, 2006)

Score is for :

Anchors > Chinatown.

Anonymous (March 12, 2006)

score is for scoring.

Anonymous (March 11, 2006)

Score is for Slint.

Anonymous (March 10, 2006)

Score is for hot semen dripping off my chin.

-Chinatown

iconoclast (March 10, 2006)

the dvd is 40 minutes long. i havnt watched it yet cuz the bad religion dvd hasnt left my player yet. but oddly enough, on interpunk, the cd/dvd version of mr. beast is cheaper than the regular cd without the dvd.

UncleFunkyPants (March 10, 2006)

The CD is awesome, but is the DVD that comes with it any good/more than 15 minutes long?

Russe11 (March 9, 2006)

Listened to this for the first time today, great album.

iconoclast (March 9, 2006)

does anybody in the world have any idea what the little icon/picture of jesus hanging by a funky looking cross that has a M and a Y in it that is on the side of the cd case to "mr beast"?

at_the_drive_in_21 (March 9, 2006)

Phew! I was hoping someone would get something out of this!

.flac and .shn formats are lossless media formats, in that they're compressed versions that are pitch perfect to how they sound on the master reel, but are smaller than an uncompressed file, say, a .wav file.

MP3's are compressed in a way that they lose some sound quality, and depending on your ear, may be noticeable.

Some of the shows I've found have the option of selecting which format you desire, but if its all in .flac, you can usually download plugins for your media player that will allow you to play them. I know for sure Winamp has the plugins on their website. Or you can convert them to MP3 or WAV to burn them to a cd using dbpoweramp, which is quite a handy FREE program to have. I think you have to pay to get the MP3 converting program though... Or get it free through bittorrent. (re: Demonoid)

iconoclast (March 9, 2006)

at_the_drive_in_21,
thanks so much for that link. i just have a question. it seems to download some of the songs in flac format, i have no clue what that is. and it doesnt seem to work on my computer. do you know what flac is?

Anonymous (March 9, 2006)

I'd like to point out that 'Almost Famous' wasn't a documentary.

at_the_drive_in_21 (March 9, 2006)

30 Mogwai shows archived at the Live Music Archive if anyone's interested...

http://www.archive.org/audio/etreelisting-browse .php?collection=etree&cat=Mogwai

Anchors (March 9, 2006)

Who the fuck are you? Seriously, do you want to die or something? Mind your own goddamn business pussy.

Hahahahhaha oh my god hello 7th grade boys locker room.

jamespastepunk (March 8, 2006)

Who the fuck are you?
I could ask you the same question.
Seriously, do you want to die or something?
No, but being told by a guy on the internet that he's going to kill me makes me laugh.
Mind your own goddamn business pussy.
Who are you, Tony Soprano? Are you going to send your goons over to kneecap me?

Bitch, please.

Anonymous (March 8, 2006)

Fuck all of you teenyboppers, I'm gonna go eat some man chowda.

-Chinatown

ElVaquero (March 8, 2006)

Chinatown is on a campaign against his credibility on this site

Anonymous (March 8, 2006)

Hahaha, oh shit, people. No one make valid remarks about how much of a dumbass Chinatown is, because it's not your argument! Ignore the squabbling on a public forum, you pussies!

Good grief.

Anonymous (March 8, 2006)

Apparently, you waste your time commenting on other people's "waste of time" (ie: their reviews). So, what does that make you?

Who the fuck are you? Seriously, do you want to die or something? Mind your own goddamn business pussy.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 8, 2006)

boring

jamespastepunk (March 7, 2006)

Keep on wasting your time writing those reviews; you'll see what it amounts to soon enough.

Apparently, you waste your time commenting on other people's "waste of time" (ie: their reviews). So, what does that make you?

iconoclast (March 7, 2006)

yea! "my father my king" slipped my mind too. in that song, they somehow make their guitars sound like dinosaurs. now that shit is powerful.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

Oh shit!

Score's for the homeboys who mentioned 'My Father My King' as being the best Mogwai record. That totally slipped my mind.

Anchors (March 7, 2006)

Care to tell me where I said it was an emotional outlet?

Or, like every other thing you've written in this thread, was it complete and utter bullshit?

ElVaquero (March 7, 2006)

Well I for one appreciate what Anchors does for this site. Chinatown contributes basically nothing but comments. Not that there's a problem with that (I haven't done shit for this site in years), but who is more important for the upkeep to this site?

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

Meh, to hell with you Anchors. That line about how reviews can be used as emotional outlets is hilarious. Keep on wasting your time writing those reviews; you'll see what it amounts to soon enough.

-Chinatown

rkl (March 7, 2006)

i havent seen a girlfight since high school. fun times.

opened_ground (March 7, 2006)

stop arguing. No one cares.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

My only problem with Anchors was back when he used to be a condescending fuck about street punk (see: Subhumans' thread from a year and a half ago) and liked Alexisonfire rabidly. Also, the reviewing style of taking the album title into a personal context was really annoying.

THANKFULLY, it's all in the past!

Mogwai is cooool, but eeeehhh, these are the kinds of bands I prefer to see live and I like a lot of similar bands better than them.

-Will

Anchors (March 7, 2006)

How does it make no sense? I made a facetious statement about you being witty, and an equally facetious statement about your charm, since you come off as an abrasive asshole. Got it? Good.

You started by saying, "what the hell do words have to do with creativity." Do you read this shit before you type it, do you? "Besides, there are no words than can accurately describe music." Then why have you written reviews of your own? Honestly, there is no way you go through any sort of cognative process before saying what you do. And then the bit about tablature, how about albums that don't use guitar, eh? Is rock music the only kind of music in existence? Music is plenty understandable through words. It evokes thought and emotion in the listener. Thoughts and emotions can be described. As can sounds. That's why the english language has adjectives. You've heard of them, right?

Oh shit, you caught me, I made a grammatical error. You'd think I'm human or something. Will does make Alexisonfire jokes, yes, but you're outright lying by saying this is the first you've made. Hardly. And if it is in fact true, kudos on the originality it takes to rip on a joke of somebody else that was lame in the first place.

And no, I don't aspire to be a creative writer. That's a completely baseless claim. I don't write fiction, I don't write haikus, I don't write screenplays, I write record reviews. That's it. That's the capacity in which I choose to parlay my ability to write. You're right, creative writing does require each of the attributes you mentioned. This is of no consequence to me. Writing about music is a complete and total separate element from fiction. I don't develop characters, establish a setting, I don't require an antagonist or a protagonist, I don't need a conflict. Everything I need is given to me on that shiny circular disc. It does require creativity, however. I'm not bragging whatsoever here, but I've written over 350 reviews. Inevitably, a lot of those records are going to sound the same, but I can sit comfortably knowing I've never written a duplicate review. I'm able to come up with something different, albeit not revolutionary each and every time.

Depleted imagination? Yeah alright buddy. And I'm sure you have a fantastic literary agent, one that can assist you in any growling advice you so require.

My overall point is this. You don't like my reviews, fine. You're entitled to whatever opinion you please. But for fuck's sake, keep your snide remarks to yourself. In however long you've been coming to this site, I've yet to see you contribute one positive thing. Give it a rest.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

It's "that," Chinatown, not "than"

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

I can't believe hungryjoe's the only person who mentioned "My Father, My King." What the fuck!? Mogwai's best stuff by far.

and I don't think Matador is doing a Wowee Zowee re-issue. I heard there wasn't enough material...

Jim

ryanbolger (March 7, 2006)

do you think this is a little bit cathartic for you?

just finished my first listen, and this album didn't melt my face off the bone, but definitely struck as a much more structured album, let alone in the song writing.

oh, and envy rocks.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

Oh and since Chinatown can resist resorting to low blows: NUFAN sucks shit and so did your horrible fanboy review of their record. Now, could you please shut up and stop talking about your "three record minimum mailorders". Cut the holier than thou attitude and you might have friends.

The only NUFAN album reviewed on this site by me is Incognito. I gave it a 6/10. How the fuck is that a "fanboy review," douchebag?

By the way, I have quite a lot of cash to spare but nonetheless don't like getting shafted by mail-order rates. That's why I prefer to wait.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

Oh Chinatown, your wit is only matched by your charm.

That makes no sense whatsoever. Poorly-supported claim. Do yourself a favor and never involve yourself into literary criticism, where you actually have to support your arguments.

So I have to work for Pitchfork to add variety to my reviews? Fuck man, I can add some 10 dollar words and literary allusions to 18th century Irish poets, but that isn't going to make anyone understand how a record sounds. Their long-winded, meandering anecdotes rarely give anyone any sort of clue as to what an album sounds like. They're tremendously skilled writers, I have no doubt about that, but they should be writing fiction rather than reviews.

What the hell do words have to do with creativity? Fiction is about the exploration of one's ideas through a narrative and through characters, not giving an account of how you feel about a collection of songs. Besides, there are no words than can accurately describe music. Sure, if you've listened to a certain genre, you can grasp certain terms and get somewhat of an idea as to what a recording would sound like. But to describe HOW a song sounds, what the chords do? Impossible To even begin to think so is lunacy. That's why there's tablature; it's the only "language" suited to tell someone exactly what a song sounds like. When you try to use the English language to do so, you only end up applying a creativity that is severely limited by the constraints of the album, as well as music's position as something not understandable through words.

And your second point is some of the most ridiculous bullshit I've ever heard. I only write reviews for shitty bands? Yeah buddy. All of my reviews, every last one is for a token pop punk band that I have half a star to. Actually, the majority of my reviews are positive, so that refutes half of what you're saying right there. And please, please show me even one instance where I've gone in depth, let alone written an entire paragraph to describe a breakdown, or posted the lyrics for an entire song. Just show me one time I've done it, unless, in another stunning turn of events, you're simply talking out your ass.

Yeah, you have a good number of positive reviews out there.
Whatever. I'll give you this one since I don't really care to deconstruct your reviews.

Lastly, you're right. Adam is a terrific writer, one who's style I admire and have taken some cues from, but all you look like is a vindictive, petty little schmuck in telling me every chance you get you think my reviewing sucks. I look at the reviews for when I first started writing here, and stuff I wrote last week, and I know I've vastly improved. That's all I need. I don't need to validate myself to some kid who gets a chubby every time he makes an Alexisonfire joke. You're pathetic. I could impliment all the literary devices known to man, a lot of which I do actually use, though you won't acknowledge it, and you'd still insist on sitting there and insulting me.

That should be "whose," Anchors. Perhaps you should take some cues from Adam's grammatical skills as well!

Will makes the Alexisonfire jokes, not me; in fact, I think it's my first one. I guess you just have a bad memory.

Yes, doubtlessly your reviews have improved since you first began. But that's not my point. It seems to me that you aspire to be a creative writer, and presumably not one of the supermarket-novel kind. Well, that requires a good deal of originality, freshness, and vision. What I want to know is: how is reviewing albums, many of which feature pedantic
lyrics and generic perspectives, going to help you expand on those points? What's the use of reviewing an album reviewed by Trustkill when you could be writing material that is all your own?

And now I've sunk to your level by even replying to your juvenile ranting. Face it, you're just some nobody who gets his kicks by insulting me on the internet, and not even well. Make some friends, get a hobby, do something, because I can promise you that nobody is impressed.

Typical response from someone with a depleted imagination.

And just for the record, I have a literary agent, so I can tell you that I have more say than you on this topic.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

score's for Anchors taking a giant shit on chinatown's ego. Go Anchors!

ElVaquero (March 7, 2006)

Chinatown got pwned

etwiels88 (March 7, 2006)

Listened to the leak of this awhile back, it's great

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

thismay be a good band but they bore me

hungryjoe (March 7, 2006)

They've always been better when they showed little restraint (Young Team, My Father My King, the final third of Come on Die Young). Nevertheless, i'm heading down to the record store right now.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

Listened to this all day. Good album.

iconoclast (March 7, 2006)

i havnt heard this whole album yet cause ive been holding out and my copy hasnt come yet. but, the songs i have heard are incredible. i think the song "glasgow megasnake" has the potential to melt anyone's face off.
they have long been one of my favorite bands. their music is some of the most affecting ive ever heard. if you are new to mogwai, get "ep 2" or "government commissions." I'm not quite sure why so many people regard "come on die young" as a bad record. keep on it and you will soon understand the beauty. at least thats what happened for me. the end.

good review by the way, aubin!

jamespastepunk (March 7, 2006)

I guess I'll have to listen to a couple songs by Mogwai, if they're liked so highly around these parts. As for Chinatown...

Still making Alexisonfire jokes? Tell me you've got something new...

Anchors (March 7, 2006)

Oh Chinatown, your wit is only matched by your charm.

So I have to work for Pitchfork to add variety to my reviews? Fuck man, I can add some 10 dollar words and literary allusions to 18th century Irish poets, but that isn't going to make anyone understand how a record sounds. Their long-winded, meandering anecdotes rarely give anyone any sort of clue as to what an album sounds like. They're tremendously skilled writers, I have no doubt about that, but they should be writing fiction rather than reviews.

And your second point is some of the most ridiculous bullshit I've ever heard. I only write reviews for shitty bands? Yeah buddy. All of my reviews, every last one is for a token pop punk band that I have half a star to. Actually, the majority of my reviews are positive, so that refutes half of what you're saying right there. And please, please show me even one instance where I've gone in depth, let alone written an entire paragraph to describe a breakdown, or posted the lyrics for an entire song. Just show me one time I've done it, unless, in another stunning turn of events, you're simply talking out your ass.

Lastly, you're right. Adam is a terrific writer, one who's style I admire and have taken some cues from, but all you look like is a vindictive, petty little schmuck in telling me every chance you get you think my reviewing sucks. I look at the reviews for when I first started writing here, and stuff I wrote last week, and I know I've vastly improved. That's all I need. I don't need to validate myself to some kid who gets a chubby every time he makes an Alexisonfire joke. You're pathetic. I could impliment all the literary devices known to man, a lot of which I do actually use, though you won't acknowledge it, and you'd still insist on sitting there and insulting me.

And now I've sunk to your level by even replying to your juvenile ranting. Face it, you're just some nobody who gets his kicks by insulting me on the internet, and not even well. Make some friends, get a hobby, do something, because I can promise you that nobody is impressed.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

I am 100% convinced that the Chinatown/Anchors argument is more interesting than this record.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

This album disappointed me big time. And I love Mogwai.

I never "got" 'Come On Die Young'. Starters should by 'Government Commissions' first 'cause the version of 'Like Herod' on that fucking destroys.

Archangel (March 7, 2006)

Chinatown is still here? Meh.

someoneanonymous (March 7, 2006)

I disagree with Chinatown. I think that "writing reviews of shitty albums" can be a outlet for creative writing, if one chooses to try to do so. Now, i'm not saying Anchors does or doesn't do this, quite frankly I hardly pay attention to who's writing the review (except for when it's Jesse, because he's annoying). However, at least he's doing something to exercise his writing. Anyways, thats all I have to say. Oh and since Chinatown can resist resorting to low blows: NUFAN sucks shit and so did your horrible fanboy review of their record. Now, could you please shut up and stop talking about your "three record minimum mailorders". Cut the holier than thou attitude and you might have friends.

opened_ground (March 7, 2006)

Chinatown manned the fuck up.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

Rabble rabble rabble.

I don't care about what you (or anyone, for that matter) think(s) about the three or four reviews I've written for this site in the last three years. No, they aren't as consistent or objective as yours. But why should they be? It's not a form of writing that I consistently engage in day after day, so it's not like I have the chance to develop some kind of "reviewing voice" (however meaningless that is).

Oh yeah, and unless you work for Pitchfork, there aren't a million ways to compose a review. Maybe I should instead say that the way you explain albums is generally uninteresting (e.g. you quote a song's entire lyrics, or use a full paragraph to describe track 7's breakdown---boring). Read Adam's reviews and learn from them; he's a lot better than you.

I've often heard you say that you enjoy writing reviews for this site because it helps you develop as a writer. Bullshit. Reviewing shitty albums isn't going to help you get anywhere; in no way is it a form of creative writing. You're not exploring deep issues or challenging your creativity (though I doubt that a fratboy has much use for that). You're not allowing yourself to invent similes, metaphors, characters. Your writing isn't going anywhere. That's my point.

Unless you can explain to me how writing 250 reviews for punknews.org is helping you develop as an aspiring writer, don't bother replying.

-Chinatown

Anchors (March 7, 2006)

If there's one thing you can criticize about my reviews, it sure as fuck isn't that I follow a formula. If you honestly think otherwise, you're either illiterate, or too stubborn to actually admit that you're wrong or about something. What formula do I use man? Please, describe it to me. I'd love to hear it.

I'm plenty aware of what Elvis Costello said about writing about music. And stil, he's one of my top 5 favorite all time artists. He's entitled to his opinion. No artist likes the people who write about music. Haven't you seen Almost Famous? We're the enemy.

Really, you're one to throw stones about writing, though. I've loved your recent reviews. Oh, wait, you haven't written one since you were ridiculed for your NUFAN review. Let me guess, you're "too busy," you "have a life," "better things to do." I'm sure you're so busy and popular that you can't spare the whole hour it takes to write something.

But please, keep taking your cheap hits at me. Everyone's real impressed by your wit, I promise.

Well, at least you didn't resort to an Alexisonfire potshot.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

In a stunning turn of events, Chinatown has decided to whine like a 6 year old girl about something that nobody agrees with him on!

Actually, the poster just above me agreed with my sentiment about Come On Die Young.

Anyway, shouldn't you be writing another review right now? There's nothing like writing 4 reviews per day in order to hone your creative writing skills! In fact, I think you've hit your peak as a reviewer (or should I say "writer"?): nowadays, all of your reviews read the same way, and you've been recycling the same clichés since late 2004!

A wise man once said that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Can't say that I disagree. If you really want to expand as a writer, maybe you should start composing some Alexisonfire fan-fiction.

-Chinatown

ElVaquero (March 7, 2006)

an alright review, but i prefer pitchfork's just because i'm a dick
http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/m/mogwai/mr-be ast.shtml

danperrone (March 7, 2006)

good review, but how do you not mention "travel is dangerous"

that's going to be one of the best songs of the year

Anchors (March 7, 2006)

In a stunning turn of events, Chinatown has decided to whine like a 6 year old girl about something that nobody agrees with him on!

opened_ground (March 7, 2006)

wow! what a set of influences! I couldn't agree more though. Really good review and I hope to get this soon. I think Grails is my favorite instrumental band. They're a bit off kilter compared to these guys but are just as good at making you feel completely irritated and then completely sedated.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

chinatown, i don't blame you for feeling that way after hearing come on die young. it's by far their worst shit and a lot of it is pretty unlistenable. do yourself a favor and check out rock action or young team and you'll be singing a different tune.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

"with bombast (Young Team, Come on Die Young)"

You must be kidding. Come On Die Young is one of the tamest and most repetitive albums I've ever purchased. It alone has made me swear to never listen to another Mogwai album again. Ugh. Just ugh.

By the way, wasn't this label supposed to re-issue Pavement's Wowee Zowee last year?????!! Seriously, what gives?

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

not as good as rock action or young team but i like it better than cody and happy songs. no long songs though. i tend to like their longer songs best.

good variety in the songs though. especially like the vocals on travel is dangerous and the intro is sine wave part 2.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

i like explosions in the sky. they're a great instrumental band.

Anonymous (March 7, 2006)

on another note, new gregor samsa is also amazing

Anchors (March 7, 2006)

I'm doing a Red Sparowes review very very soon.

Also, this album is terrific.

colin (March 7, 2006)

along similar instrumental act notes, i also am digging red sparowes and the six parts seven. good stuff all around, great music to sort of chill out to, read with, sleep, etc. almost modern classical, if that makes sense.

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