Listening to Mogwai’s eighth album, Rave Tapes, is not a rollercoaster of emotions, rising and falling at random intervals. It is a carefully crafted rise and a very sudden and final fall. The drastic tonal shift happens almost exactly half way through the album, on the first beat of ‘Repelish’, where, for the first time on the album, you hear a voice, simply talking, followed by a deep sense of something being wrong when the bass drum beat and deep synth melody kick in. It is jarring to say the least; put there very deliberately to convey a message, Mogwai still retain the ability to provoke and surprise. The strongest tracks arrive right at the start filling the listener with a sense that they are about to behold something truly awe-inspiring. Sadly however this disappears almost as suddenly as ‘Repelish’ crashes the atmosphere through the floor. There is one track beyond the tonal plummet worth listening to, and that’s ‘Master Card’. Rave Tapes promised much in its first few tracks, a dramatic-yet-mellow build up to an epic conclusion that never came, leaving no real impression on the listener but a sense of being unfulfilled.

[Ross Barnie]

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