Sunday, November 05, 2017

Quiet, loud, louder, LOUDEST

2017 has not only seen the release of a new Mogwai LP Every Country's Sun, their ninth album "proper", but also the twentieth birthday of their first. Young Team wasn't the first record of theirs that I heard (that would be the bits-and-pieces collection Ten Rapid, released six months earlier, in April 1997), and it isn't my favourite of theirs (that honour probably goes to 2003's Happy Music For Happy People, though it's a close call), but there's no doubt it was a staggering release at the time, has proven hugely influential over the past two decades and remains a pretty astonishing listen - as underlined by this piece by Clash's Robin Murray.

For many (myself included), Mogwai proved to be a gateway drug to a whole host of leftfield, experimental and obtuse acts - but, as Murray acknowledges, they themselves were remarkably unpretentious. He also rightly acknowledges that Young Team wasn't created in a vaccum - the LP was pieced together at an extraordinarily fertile time for Scottish (and particularly Glaswegian) music, with the Delgados' label Chemikal Underground and the cash injection it received from the surprise success of Bis' 'Kandy Pop' (see Niall McCann's film Lost In France) helping to bring Young Team into existence and then ensure its impact.

Talking of impact, apologies in advance to both the neighbours and the cat for any upset caused by the fact that I'm about to revisit 'Like Herod'...

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