Mogwai is one of those bands I’ve been meaning to listen to forever and I just didn’t get around to it until the last year or two. This is their second album that I’ve ever heard (in addition to being their second record) and, though I don’t like it as much as the debut, I can’t really understand why this thing is so damn divisive.
Maybe I just don’t know this band well enough and so I haven’t heard enough of their discography to understand how this record compares to their others but, to my ears, this is pretty standard late ’90s post rock. Yes, it’s a little on the lethargic side at times and, yes, it perhaps too often recalls certain Canadian post rock bands but I really don’t know why so many people consider it… bad.
Much of the music here is pretty standard post rock, albeit a little further along the spectrum towards ambient than some of these bands (say the Canadian ones). I have heard bands that push this direction much more than Mogwai does here, though, so, for me, this record has a lot more energy than I think it’s often recognized for.
I think one issue for some people is the sequencing (in addition to the length), which delays a lot of the songs with payoffs until later in the record. I don’t mind this decision but I can understand why people who are actively listening to the record or who take the Iggy Pop sample as some kind of call for immediacy might get pissed off.
But I like it. It does the things I want post rock to do, for the most part. I don’t think it’s as unique as their debut, but it works for me. (I do suspect that some of these songs are significantly better live, however.)