1997, Music

Mogwai Young Team (1997)

By 1997, post rock had existed for some time but I think you could make a compelling case that the sounds we most associate with post rock were still not that common within this horribly named genre, which is really a bunch of different genres. The grandeur and epic scale of much post rock was a new thing and most of the music called post rock before 1997 we might not even recognize as post rock now. 1997 feels like a watershed year in post rock, with the debuts of many of the great post rock bands coming in that year.

Mogwai Young Team ranks among the very best of those, and is certainly among the most important. Much more “rock” than a lot of the post rock appearing in 1997 – think the Canadian scene, which has long had a heavy chamber music influence – this record is, at times, pretty close to the platonic ideal; of what post rock should sound like: long, mostly instrumental songs that build from low to loud, without usually changing tempo all that much.

There are still hints of more traditional rock music on here which is, I guess, one reason I’m slightly reluctant to acclaim it a masterpiece.

But this is an impressive debut that feels nearly fully formed. If you can cast your mind back to 1997, this really is the sound of the future; though post rock has never become commercial, really, it has drastically influenced a whole hell of a lot of more commercial music, and remains one of the safe spaces for ambition in popular music. That’s because of stuff like this.

Great stuff.

9/10

All tracks written by Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchison, Martin Bulloch, and John Cummings, except “R U Still in 2 It”, lyrics by Aidan Moffat.

  1. “Yes! I Am a Long Way from Home” 5:57
  2. “Like Herod” 11:41
  3. “Katrien” 5:24
  4. “Radar Maker” 1:35
  5. “Tracy” 7:19
  6. “Summer (Priority Version)” 3:28
  7. “With Portfolio” 3:10
  8. “R U Still in 2 It” 7:20
  9. “A Cheery Wave from Stranded Youngsters” 2:18
  10. “Mogwai Fear Satan” 16:19

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