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Those Glascow Lads

Come On Die Young
(Matador/Chemikal Underground)

I'm not sure if Mogwai is trying to show their sensitive sides or what, but CODY is definitely something different than one has come to expect from the group. Sure, it's still largely instrumental, and there are a few moments of extreme sonics, but for the most part, their soft-loud, loud-soft sound that was so prevelant on songs such as "Like Herrod" and "Summer" off their Young Team release is nowhere to be found. I've read a lot of reviews where people have dismissed them as a one-trick band, and / or a worse version of Slint. While this disc probably won't gain them a lot of new listeners, it should at least prove that they have a lot more tricks and talent up their sleeve than some have given them credit for.

The tracks second self-titled track is a nice lead-on on what to expect from the disc. While it is fairly mellow for the group, it doesn't sound to extraordinary until the vocals come in. Instead of enlisting Aidan Moffat (of Arab Strap) as they have several times before, however, the group actually sings their own track. It's a slow-core track sounding somewhat like Low, and quite an interesting start for the group. After a couple more slow tracks, things pick up a little with the track "Kappa." Once again, it starts out slow and kind of feels like it may bust loose and be Mogwai of old, but it shows a little restraint along with its slide-guitar and again throws the listener for a loop. After the excellent "May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door" and the two-minute novelty track "Oh! How The Dogs Stack Up," they manage to shake off the reigns a little bit more with a track called "Ex-Cowboy." The nine-minute piece builds for goes through two slow builds, each leading to a huge, layered wall of sound. Although it doesn't work quite as well as their track "MogwaiFearSatan," it has the same deliberate qualities and is one of the better tracks on the disc. Quickly on the heels, the group follows with another almost 10 minute track called "Chocky." This time, a piano takes the center stage and the song swirls and dissolves around this center piece. Again fairly subtle, but still quite excellent. In case you didn't have enough long tracks, the second-to-last song on the disc is a re-working of the almost 11-minute track "Christmas Steps" from the No Curfew, Fuck The Future EP. While it is more of the "soft-loud" sound that the group is known for, it's a nice inclusion on the disc.

Overall, this disc is just a different release for the group. There are a few scattered moments of loudness, but the disc is more of an exercise in subtlety for the group. While things are quiet, they still manage to take tracks in interesting directions and they show that they can write a waltz just as well as their lablemates. While I tend to favor the energy and dynamics of their Young Team album a bit more, this disc is something that has really grown on me as one of those rainy-day listens. Not entirely gloomy, the disc does have a definite down feel to it, but sometimes that's a great thing.

Rating: 7