Scottish post-rock legends Mogwai return with what is definitely in my Top 10 Album Titles of 2011, with "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will". But does the music stand up to such an awesome title? Absolutely it does, but do not let the title fool you either. This is not Mogwai goes hardcore. Instead the quintet further explore their loud, yet melodic, mastery of instrumental rock music.
Across ten tracks, the band mix more electronics than normal in with their sonic attack of guitar, bass and drums, and there aren't any meandering instrumentals that go nowhere. Each song evolves along the way, with clear structures that may surely make this more accessible than some of their earlier work, but no less worthwhile. "Hardcore" sparkles from start to finish.
Opener "White Noise" features a pretty but sad keyboard melody over thunderous drums, before ending with screaming, otherworldly guitars. "Mexican Grand Prix" is reminiscent of a lot of Underworld's material, an electronic song with a driving keyboard and hushed, electronically altered vocals that intensely builds with louder guitars, bass and drums. "Death Rays" is a majestic, cinematic track with a beautiful melody led by piano and keyboard over a din of feedback. There's even a legit ballad here with "Letters To The Metro", with a piano melody offset by forlorn guitars.
Leave it to the lads to also throw in some of their classic, offbeat song titles. Mostly instrumental music gives you the freedom to come up with some interesting titles and Mogwai rarely disappoints. Highlights here include "George Square Thatcher Death Party", another song with vocals run through a vocoder and fuzzed out guitars, "How To Be A Werewolf", and the album closing epic "You're Lionel Richie".
Silly song titles are just a gimmick though, if the band can't back it up musically. Once again that is not a problem for Mogwai, one of the greatest bands in this genre. "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will" is one of 2011's best.
"Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will" was released in the U.S. February 15, 2011 on the Sub Pop label.