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Rave Tapes

4.5 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 21, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Rave Tapes is the eighth studio album by Mogwai and their second on Sub Pop. With Rave Tapes, Mogwai's mastery of sound and space is firmly at its apex. The album is a lustrous collection mined from the same quarry as its predecessors, wreathed in painterly textures underpinned by increasingly electronic beats. Mogwai wrote and recorded Rave Tapes at the band's Castle Of Doom studio in Glasgow, Scotland, with Paul Savage, who also worked on their 2011 Sub Pop album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 21, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B00GTO6YE2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,886 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It's hard to determine the exact path that took them in this direction. There's a lot more use of synth and electronic-based sounds (the first single, "Remurdered" is a pretty good gauge of how the album will fare for you). Generally, I am very pleased with this which is a good pickup from what I found to be a disappointment with "Hardcore..." Upon a few listen-throughs, I only really have the desire to skip a couple tracks. Conceptually it works. Not too many tracks stand out among the others, and the buildup to the final track works well.

You'll hear definite similarities between this and the "Les Revenants" soundtrack, though Mogwai seems to keep it 'Mogwai' with this record. You'll also be pleased to find the slow-ballad-like grandiosity found in classics like "Jim Morrison" and dreamy progressive tracks a la "Take Me Somewhere Nice"

Was I a bit disappointed? Well, just a little. I love Mogwai, more their old stuff, but they do seem to harken back to their old stuff slightly more than "Hardcore..." but it sounds very little like their recent soundtrack work for "Zidane" and "Les Revenants". It is less guitar driven, and more electronic sounding - but not a casio-keyboard-garageband sound. They keep it analog, they keep it real. Would you suspect Mogwai of doing otherwise?

All in all, a well rounded record and well worth a purchase for you Mogwai fans. Looking forward to seeing them perform in support of this record; a lot of these tracks would sound incredible live.

ADDENDUM UPDATE: The record grew on me a lot, I like it a lot more than the original listen-throughs.
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I believe I have everything Mogwai has released (though i passed on Zidane and Les something or other), as I've been a fan since the late 90's. This album has a different feel than their previous ones, but it still lands in the top 4-5 Mogwai albums for me...which says something considering I'm a fan of everything they've done, which includes at least 10 studio albums. Rave Tapes offers more electronics and less blow-your-ears-off guitar explosions, but that's fine by me. The Mogwai album I feel it most compares to is The Hawk is Howling, which took some time to grow on me. This one, though, has impressed me from the get-go. Despite some new and prominent elements, you can still tell it's Mogwai lurking underneath it all. The electronics are nothing super-advanced but play a featured role on several tracks. I agree that this album works best when you can listen to it straight through. Something about the buildup makes the Lord is Out of Control a real highlight. I don't care much for the content and sound of the dialogue on track 5. It becomes a distraction and, for me, interrupts the feel of flow of the album up to that point. A stronger track there probably would have earned a 5-star overall rating from me. This is just another strong release from a band that has steadily built a vast and very impressive catalog of material.
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At first listen, "Rave Tapes" doesn't sound as interesting to me as some of their other albums. I'm a fan of "Young Team", "Rock Action", "The Hawk Is Howling" and "Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will"... those are favorites. But I tend to like all of their releases.

To those who are casual fans, the band's music might seem to be fairly homogeneous. That is, things don't seem to vary that much from one outing to the next. I believe this is partially true, in that there are subtle musical differences each time, but the band's creative spirit and willingness to try some new things is always present.

This time there is more of a noticeable jump in a different direction sound-wise. The presence of keyboards and synths is certainly more noticeable here, but I see nothing wrong with it. To my ears, it is a way for the band to add some new sounds and musical ideas to their repertoire. I hear it as a natural outgrowth of a gradually developing creative process. The process is on an ever-upward trend, with little spikes and mini-valleys along the way. But for me, whether it's a spike or a valley it's all good.

I won't say "Mogwai fans rejoice!" Because not all Mogwai fans will think this is a great record. I also don't think it's great right now, not at first, although I like it. And as a keyboardist, I know it's going to grow on me. For those of you who like the guitar sounds? Take a listen. There is plenty of guitar going on, it's just a bit more subtle.

While I don't find this album as interesting as some of my other favorites of theirs, they are doing some cool new things with textures and orchestration. This is definitely Mogwai.
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This is such a great album. Some of the songs can take a while to get into, but the majority are catchy and will find stuck in your head.
Glad to see there's still actual music being made by bands that don't change for the mainstream.
Not like the majority of Mogwai albums in the sense that there's a lot more synth being used than in their other albums.
Buy it, take the time to relax and enjoy.
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