OK so, I’m taking a heroic dose of mescaline in this automatic car commercial, and as the guitars guide me to the peak, the mathesis universalis — secret language of ultimate reality revealing the interconnectedness of science, philosophy, and art — comes in through THX Chrome font in my OEVs. Mogwai is my tripsitter through the funereal crescendos and emotional lability of buying a beige jacket that conveys my exasperating modesty. Mogwai’s members and I have a lot in common (I’m serious), we don’t like to over-analyze music too much with terms like “post-rock”, but being a masochist, I have managed to lose myself along the way, and here I am.
Pop music is more pretentious than most would admit. Think about it. It’s self-aggrandizing, simplistic, and manipulative. It pulls at your heart strings, but upon dissection yields little content or art. We on the other hand have good taste, so we listen to bands like This Will Destroy You, Explosions in the Sky, Do Make Say Think, and Mogwai. They compose swollen eleven-minute collaborative epics about like feeling how big the world is, or something, and don’t you just love people? We all share Every Country’s Sun, under which it has been said there is nothing new.
The first time I heard “Party in the Dark” off this album, I thought it was a cover of an old hit, but it’s just a by-the-numbers tune. Mogwai’s stylistic arsenal of every popular alternative rock group from the last thirty years, from New Order to Slint, shines through more plainly in this song. It’s catchy, and I listened to it more than anything else on the album. The beginning of “aka 47” hearkens back to classic IDM like Arovane. The closing title track reminds me of the only Mogwai album I have ever liked, Happy Songs for Happy People. “1000 Foot Face” reminds me of infamous Mormon sl*wc*re outfit Low. Everything reminds me of something better, which was never that good in the first place. I don’t need this album — I’m getting up to leave.
Mogwai have contributed to several soundtracks. Their music lends itself well to the background of more interesting activities. Their sin is not so much that they are pillagers, but that they built a city of waiting rooms from their spoils. These anthems and dirges are exhausting, they are profoundly boring, they do not make me feel anything, I am not crying, I am not moved in the slightest. It is the same for everyone else peddling this sound, whatever you want to label it, and however pompous their song names are, which ironically is something Mogwai have complained about. What is the attraction here? Beyond accompanying an Alan Watts lecture on your laptop while you’re coming down. Everyone likes to imagine they live in a movie, but what kind of person imagines they live in a movie where Mogwai is playing? Do they fantasize about being in a documentary? A slideshow of natural photography?
What comes to mind when I hear this music are clips of people connecting with handheld technology, baring their pearly whites, laughing and encouraging others to follow them to The Gathering. The sort of thing I have blocked with ad-ons. I’m fucking sick. I don’t want to live under Every Country’s Sun, with its uplifting and cathartic supergroups broadcasting wholeness to cramped apartments. Cornered with that corn syrup quicksand, I would prefer our drifting further apart. I would prefer the widening of skeins into canyons, voids like sucking wounds through which the world may end or, God forbid, something new may happen.