Back again — and as the album title might suggest — with a vengeance, Glasgow guitar-rockers Mogwai return in 2011 and with one of the most bad-ass album titles ever: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.
Aside from brief sound samples and slight snippets of whispering, Mogwai strictly plays instrumental music, which leaves the only lyrical context for each song in the title. And with their latest effort, it's evident Mogwai has gotten pretty good at naming their songs with names like “You’re Lionel Richie” and “George Square Thatcher Death Party”. Each title adds a sense of story or history to it’s song; Mexican Grand Prix sounds similar to a 90s PlayStation racing game music, “San Pedro” sounds like a soundtrack to a bad-ass, Mexican explosion flick.
However, the tracks aren’t exactly brimming with brilliance. They’re sturdy, but it feels more like a band jamming out in the background than anything else — which is pretty much what Mogwai does, but that’s beside the point. The point is — while there are good tracks on the album — none of them overcome the barrier of background music. It never invades the conscious plane. While most instrumental music nowadays functions with the purpose of adding depth or emotion to a project, Mogwai’s music isn’t accompanying a film (at least for now), — it’s standing by itself.
On previous albums, certain songs carried through with a delicacy that made them sneak into the audience’s head and haunt them. Hardcore doesn’t have any of those kinds of songs. What they have is nice, sturdy background music, and it’s good, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s just background music.