Mogwai: A Wrenched Virile Lore – review


A Wrenched Virile Lore
Rock Action

Mogwai’s 2011 album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, saw the Glaswegian post-rock veterans at one of their finest moments.  The band’s staple set up of textured noise-fuzz strewn over melodic interplays of guitar and bass, with the odd moment of thuderous heavy-riffage was, this time round, executed to near perfection. Even the song titles were taken to new levels of acerbic absurdity – ‘George Square Thatcher Death Party’ and ‘You’re Lionel Ritchie’ being prime examples.

A Wrenched Virile Lore sees the band edge once again into the risky territory of the ‘remix album’ as with the compilation of remixes that made up their 1998 release, Kicking a Dead Pig, which was more a practise in adding UK Garage shuffle beats onto the originals than offering a lucrative reinterpretation.

This time round however, there is a far more creative gamut of remixing on offer. On the electronica side, the Klad Hest Mogwai Is My Dick RMX of ‘Rano Pano’, takes the moody original and hurls it through a breakneck vortex of flittering beats and jarring cyber pulses. This remix is vibrant, if a bit garish, but the Cylob mix of ‘White Noise’ offers a more subtle affair of discordant electro which has a clinky clarity as oppose to the hazy original.

On the flip side, some remixes focus on intensifying the levels of fuzziness. The Soft Moon’s take on ‘San Pedro’ submerges the sledgehammer riff under waves of heavy bass and guitar pedal effects and Tim Vecker blankets his version of ‘Rano Pano’ under soft pulses of warm synth.

If one thing was notable about HWNDBYW, it was the use of vocals, more so than on previous albums. This allows for a human presence to emerge on the album, as in RM Hubbert’s ‘rework’ of ‘Mexican Grand Prix’, a chilling acoustic cover of the electrically charged original. It’s in this organic mixture of styles that this record succeeds. Where remix albums often feel hollow and impenetrable, A Wrenched Virile Lore offers us a set of imaginative reworkings, the successes of which are indebted to the malleability of Mogwai’s original style.


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