Mogwai | A Wrenched Virile Lore

Sub Pop (2012)
By RYAN REED  |  December 4, 2012
2.0 2.0 Stars


If you're like me, your hard drive is littered with random remix albums, and you have little to no clue how they got there. The remix album is to music what the DVD commentary is to film — both seem fun at first, but they're ultimately exhausting. We go through the motions once out of obligation, and we rarely emerge enlightened. And so it goes with Mogwai's A Wrenched Virile Lore: a broad range of electro producers, ambient knob-twiddlers, and singer-songwriters re-assemble the Scottish post-rock champs' most recent studio album, the excellent Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, mostly with shitty bonus-feature-styled results. Klad Hest gets major points for naming his "Rano Pano" remix "Mogwai Is My Dick," but the track itself adds up to little more than sterile 8-bit Nintendo synth buzz and frenetic drum loops. Xander Harris's dead-end version of "How To Be a Werewolf" never even feigns urgency, milking a two-note bass loop over faded synth fuzz and corny programmed cymbals for what feels like a merciless eternity. Meanwhile, Cylob removes the busy orchestral grandeur of "White Noise" but amplifies the original's core melody with a sleepy vocoder — a promising start that ultimately derails into remix-y repetition. Sandwiched between are three breathtaking moments of clarity: extreme-metal heavyweight Justin K. Broadrick "re-shapes" "George Square Thatcher Death Party" into a dreamy synth-pop vocoder lullaby; Robert Hampson's 13-minute "La Mort Blanche" is, weirdly enough, the most economical track here, blending artful, Eno-styled ambience with a bass-driven dream-pop coda. And wait — what's this? A remix with an original thought? RM Hubbert's "Mexican Grand Prix" supplants Mogwai's electronic kraut-rock propulsion with organic intimacy via spiraling classical guitar chords. Still, all in all, Virile Lore feels more "deleted scene" than "director's cut."
Related: Slideshow: Mogwai live at the Wilbur Theatre, The Big Hurt: Bieber goes 3-D, Nite Jewel | One Second of Love, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Mogwai, Mogwai, fuzz,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WAVVES | AFRAID OF HEIGHTS  |  March 18, 2013
    "I Can't Dream," the closer on Wavves' fourth studio album, opens in a drunken lo-fi stupor — Nathan Williams warbling bratty, tone-deaf nonsense over hissy acoustic power chords.
  •   THE VIRGINS | STRIKE GENTLY  |  March 06, 2013
    After a half-decade of semi-obscurity, frontman Donald Cumming is redefining his band as the hipster sultans of swing.
  •   ATOMS FOR PEACE | AMOK  |  February 26, 2013
    Kid A , Radiohead's confounding electro-rock masterpiece, is officially hitting puberty.
  •   ATLAS GENIUS | WHEN IT WAS NOW  |  February 20, 2013
    Atlas Genius are schooled students of modern pop architecture, seamlessly bouncing from Coldplay-styled acoustic rock to fizzy Phoenix funkiness to deadpanned Strokes-ian guitar chug. But When It Was Now is more like an alt-pop NOW compilation than a joyous synthesis.
  •   FOALS | HOLY FIRE  |  February 11, 2013
    Even at their most expansive, Foals are digging into more primal territory.

 See all articles by: RYAN REED