Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling  (Cover Artwork)


The Hawk Is Howling (2008)


As the crowded post-rock genre inches closer toward imploding under its own weight, leave it to Mogwai to show their followers how to do things right.

Now six full-length albums into their career, they've honed their sense of ebb and flow into a tightly refined science, twisting their way through grandiose song structures with expert panache. While The Hawk Is Howling doesn't necessarily do much to surprise, it succeeds through its near-flawless execution. The record spans a wide breadth of moods and textures, from darkly foreboding ("Batcat," "Local Authority") to almost uncharacteristically upbeat ("The Sun Smells Too Loud").

What becomes apparent when listening to the record from start to finish is how well each track flows into the next to create a cohesive whole, rather than coming off like a disjointed collection of meandering jams. As dramatically epic as it is eloquently understated, The Hawk Is Howling displays a rare level of compositional polish without a lot of wasted notes. "King's Meadow" revolves heavily around a simple, memorable melodic guitar line that segues into the slowly festering "I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School," a track that repeatedly rises and rests while steadily building up to its noisy and bombastic finish.

Despite a slight lack in innovation, The Hawk Is Howling remains an exceptionally well-crafted body of work. Mogwai might not be reinventing the instrumental rock game they helped popularize, but they're still hoisting the bar above the majority of their peers.