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[Off The Record]
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The title of Mogwai’s third full-length goes to the heart of the point the Glasgow outfit has been making since forming back in ’95: there’s more than one way to rock (or post-rock, if you will). Although given to exploring sustained bursts of both noise and beauty, the mostly instrumental group have just as often opted to limn motifs built on beds of trancelike melody and drone that, in their own elegant way, rock as heavily as any monster-truck metal show. As if to drive this point home, Rock Action is the band’s quietest and loveliest album yet. Certainly more than lyrics or choruses (there’s not much of the former and none of the latter), mood is meaning in Mogwai’s universe. " You Don’t Know Jesus " gives listeners eight full minutes to ponder its title while a steady hurricane of synthesizer builds around Stuart Braithwaite’s brooding guitar. And pastel washes of strings and a ride cymbal lift " Take Me Somewhere Nice " to the heavens as Braithwaite wonders what would happen if " you saw a spaceship over Glasgow. "


Issue Date: May 17 - 23, 2001

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