Mogwai Rave Tapes
Translating live prowess onto records can be tricky, and Mogwai has been particularly vulnerable in that area: Explosive climaxes don’t have near the same impact when the listener’s hair isn’t being blown back. And so, throughout their nearly 20-year history, the Scottish ear-wreckers have been a skippable studio act about as often as not. Eighth album Rave Tapes is no different—roughly half the songs assert themselves, while the rest bubble harmlessly in the background. Which should you cherry-pick? Begin with “Remurdered,” which shifts from ominous to outlandish (for Mogwai) when the synths kick in. Snag shortie “Hexon Bogon,” a throwback to the group’s fiercer days, but avoid “Replenish,” built around a played-out spoken bit about “Stairway to Heaven” and Satan. Then finish with the disc’s two closing cuts, the melodically gripping “No Medicine for Regret” and the vocoder-topped “The Lord Is Out of Control.” Here’s betting they sound even cooler in concert.