Zombies and ethereal post-rock. The two seem to fit together quite nicely, don’t you think? The producers of French TV series Les Revenants, based on the 2004 film of the same name, clearly thought so: they asked Glaswegian post-rockers Mogwai to soundtrack the show. And man, did they do the task justice.
Mogwai were approached following their acclaimed work on the soundtrack to documentary Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. Speaking of their decision to soundtrack the French series, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite said: “We were actually big fans of the director Fabrice Gobert’s film Simon Werner a Disparu, which had a soundtrack by Sonic Youth, and we found the story for Les Revenants incredibly interesting.”
The Les Revenants soundtrack album is notably different from the majority of Mogwai’s output. Gone are the walls of guitars so loud they’ll make your ears bleed, and in their place are stark, haunting piano-led themes laden with strings and delicate guitars lines. It’s a sparse and atmospheric listen, but no less intense than any of Mogwai’s other albums: there’s still a driving force behind many of the tracks, balanced often by heartfelt sincerity and tenderness.
From the cinematic Hungry Face to the mystery and intrigue of The Huts – the unsettling Fridge Magic to the unexpectedly vocal-led What Are They Doing In Heaven Today? – Mogwai showcase their skills as musicians. By the time final track Wizard Motor comes around, you really feel like you’ve been taken on a journey.
It’s a testament to Mogwai’s musical pedigree that, even after seven studio albums, their creativity has never floundered. Leaving behind an established formula, they have created one of their most compelling and thought-provoking bodies of work that will take pride of place in many music collections across the country.
Les Revenants by Mogwai is out on the 26th of February via Rock Action Records.