Mogwai - A Wrenched Virile Lore

I'm a bit stuck when it comes to reviewing remix albums; do we review the remixed songs as a reaction to the original album, or the collection as a whole? Should I listen to the original track then compare it directly with the remix? Who has time for that? Does anyone other than the producer care about the technical aspects of the remix? No. So, dear reader, I shall look upon this here rekkid as it is, a collection of 10 tracks, the tracks from Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, which are presented to us as a whole. 

Mogwai, oh Mogwai, where to begin? You read the tracklisting in advance, notice Justin Broadrick of Godflesh and Jesu has remixed George Square Thatcher Death Party which opens the album, and expect a kick in the nuts to start off the night; in the end it's light cuppage and a pat on the back, rather than testicular torture. Justin Broadrick shows restraint here and teases you, just taking the weight off those sweaty sacks, before tempo switches and they get a swift kick into the blistering hell that is Rano Pano (a song featured twice here, in slightly different guises).

The cast of this motley crew of remixers is pretty stellar. In addition to Broadrick, we have remixes by the likes of Cylob and Tim Hecker (providing a spaced out Rano Pano), not to mention Rock Action alumni Umberto. The most interesting name to read is acoustic hero RM Hubbert, who is listed as 'reworking' rather than remixing Mexican Grand Prix. It's gorgeous. Like, really bloomin lovely. Hubbert turns what was a driving disco-tinged slice of post-rock, into a delicate, finger-picked and whispered lullaby. I want to give it a hug.

Damnit, I made a comparison to the original track. Er,'s really hard to ignore the previous versions. But honestly, it's difficult to review these albums without looking back. Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will was by no means a perfect album, and I'm not sure that this is meant to be a perfect set of remixes; rather it sits as a set of interpretations which together give a slice of where Mogwai's hearts and their music lie. This is a band who look outside of their bubble and they've gathered a pool of artists here who can work without preconception, and just craft their music. It doesn't all work all the time but there are some great tracks on here, and you just need to compare the two versions of Rano Pano to see how different artists can interpret the same source material.

Ultimately, if you don't like Mogwai, or even just aren't fussed by them, then this probably isn't for you, but then remix albums are never for the uninterested. They're slightly self-indulgent on the band's part, we know that. This one offers plenty to discover (Robert Hampson's work here being a particular treat) and if you are interested in Mogwai at all, then you'll pick this up...or at least, listen to it on Spotify. Maybe.

You should buy it though, it's dead good.

A Wrenched Virile Lore is released by Rock Action on the 19th November.


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