This is an Enhanced CD, which contains regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Additional personnel: Luke Sutherland (guitar, violin); Greg Lawson, (violin); Scott Dickinson (viola); David Gillian, Caroine Barber (cello).
Recorded at Cava Studios, Glasgow, Scotland.
Of all the bands emerging in the mid-'90s who were labeled "post-rock," Scotland's Mogwai always seemed to be one of the closest to (gasp) an actual rock band. While their third album ROCK ACTION showed them edging ever closer to rockdom, with more conventional song structures and vocals, the follow-up is a hearty about-face. HAPPY SONGS FOR HAPPY PEOPLE is one of the band's more atmospheric efforts.
Whereas the band's early sound was often defined by angular, hypnotic guitar riffs a la Slint, HAPPY SONGS is full of dreamy, ambient electronic textures that wouldn't sound out of place on, say, a Spiritualized album. There is the occasional vocal, but voices (like everything else) are used purely as texture here. The tracks occasionally build to powerful crescendos, but for the most part, this is a mesmerizing, meditative effort suggestive of autumnal introspection and long walks through twilight forests. Is that post-rock enough for you?
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (07/24/03, p.88) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Lovely wintry keyboard washes, guitars that slowly wax into rage, and an ambience of thick-blooded despair..."
Uncut (6/03, p.111) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...There's a gnarly tension matched only by their melodic complexity. HAPPY SONGS...refines their grandiose panoramic via electronic gurgles and glitches....Somnambulant and blissful..."
Mojo (Publisher) (7/03, p.98) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...An ultramodern rock masterpiece, low-key yet ominous, offering new yet comforting ways of singing familiar tunes....A relentlessly brilliant record, lush with insidious thrills..."