Glasgow, Scotland's Mogwai has always been a band a bit a head of the curve. Explosions In The Sky and This Will Destroy You may have run with the ball domestically, but it's always nice when the old guard makes an appearance on our shores. The Hawk Is Howling marks their sixth release for Matador records and is their first to totally eschew vocals altogether. Most of the record was debuted earlier this year at the Tryptych Festival in Glasgow to much adulation, although presumably very little in the way of sing-a-longs. Hawk is also notable for having Andy Miller back behind the boards. It's been a long while, but he and the band have an obvious familiarity that lends a nice depth to The Hawk Is Howling. The soaring lines and sonic textures are total ear candy.
There is, however, a decidedly smart-ass tone to the song titles this time around. I was hoping that "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" wouldn't be a Doors homage and I am pleased to report that it is not, as Mogwai is not a band to rest on their laurels or rehash dusty clichÃ©s. While "The Sun Is Too Loud" is as delightfully lysergic as you might expect, the soaring guitars and tinkling keys are more than 2008 compliant. There really is not a bad song on the entire record. The Hawk Is Howling is yet another great release from a band that is obviously more than comfortable in its own pasty Glaswegian skin.