33.3; Mogwai, Come on Die Young

by =

 

 

Mogwai
Come on Die Young
(Matador)
by Sarah Zupko
PopMatters Editor & Publisher


mogwai-33.jpg

More often than not, instrumental rock is not terribly interesting—some hideous 70s prog-rock experiments spring to mind. Fortunately 33.3 possesses the instrumental chops and the composing talent to make an all-instrumental record not only interesting, but enjoyable. The three musicians of 33.3 are finishing up master’s degrees in art at Yale, and this background has clearly influenced a sound that is best described as “chamber pop.” Relying exclusively on actual instruments (no samplers or computers in earshot) that include the inspired cello playing of Dominique Davison, 33.3 creates a complex sound the hard way—composing rich textures and arrangements.

Touted in the U.K. as the brightest hope for “post rock,” Mogwai is the latest in a stream of Glaswegian bands hitting American shores this year. However, this crew couldn’t be more different from the Delgados and Bis. Interspersing spoken word samples with understated vocals, Mogwai is by and large an instrumental group. Favoring gentle dynamics and atypical song structures, they are hard to classify—although shades of Pink Floyd waft through on occasion, and every so often I feel as if I’m listening to a really, really mellow version of Radiohead. With a theme and variations approach, Mogwai’s music is almost classical in places, but always manages to avoid any shades of prog-rock pomposity. That said, Mogwai could use a bit more variation and contrast over the course of the full album. Individual songs are strong, but the entire album could use a touch more development. Nevertheless, the band’s ambition is admirable, and it has staked out a promising musical terrain for the future.

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.

 

//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Saul Williams Commands Attention at Summerstage (Photos + Video)

// Notes from the Road

"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.

READ the article