Music Reviews
Happy Songs for Happy People

Mogwai Happy Songs for Happy People

(Rock Action) Rating - 8/10

Ah, the Daddies of it all are back. In the last decade, Stuart Brathwaite and his merry men have become a prolific and constant presence in British alternative music. From early works like Ten Rapid or the monumental Come On Die Young, and with frequent and ground-breaking sessions and DJ sets with Steve Lamacq, Mary Anne Hobbs and John Peel and constant touring, The 'Gwai have set all the benchmarks in rock authority. They've done apocalyptic epics on Like Herod or Mogwai Fear Satan, changed the scale of what can be done with a single in My Father My King, and produced a beautifully reflective yet teasingly brief set of songs on last album Rock Action.

Happy Songs for Happy People marks a diversion only in the title, and while marking a shift from the Abaddon-on-guitar fatalism of My Father My King, continues the major-key emotions and pensive pauses that dominated Rock Action. So Hunted By a Freak or Moses? I Amn't [sic] may seem surprising to those brought up on the murderous axe wielding and crunching, skewed power-chords of Young Team, but in fact continue the subtly new direction suggested by more recent tracks like Secret Pint or their collaborations with Gruff Rhys. Still though, Killing All The Flies has huge wig-out moments, and Ratts of the Capital marks a more traditional slab of death-explosion rock.

In all it's an album that sees Mogwai doing all of what they've done well over the years - endorphin-guitars, strange yet fascinating avant-garde percussion, and spiralling, complex song-structures. Perhaps, with their greater experience, they're taking on a greater range, and maybe, just maybe, they're a bit cheerier than before. Regardless, Mogwai are an institution, and unlike the Royal Family or the Electoral College, don't need to be put up against the wall. And Happy Songs for Happy People shows them at the top of their form.