Although it’s always difficult to pin down a musical year in a few words a lot of critics do it anyway. Thus, we can’t stay behind on that, can we? However, before we end 2014 in style, let us loosely say we enjoyed working in the dark to serve you the reviews of the music we like and that nothing is true and yes, … everything is permitted.
Twice I forgot about Mogwai’s existence. I first got acquainted with the band after picking them up during a BBC Peel Session. At the time Come on Die Young (1999) and Rock Action (2001) were not to miss albums. Yet shortly after that, they disappeared from my radar for unknown reasons but reappeared a decade later with Hardcore will never die, but you will (2011). Luckily I was still there to enjoy the instrumental contents of ‘Hardcore’ that in the end never nested on my playlists. Again I had no good reason for this to happen, but it did somehow. Musically Mogwai always was worthwhile to listen to. So a few weeks ago the grey, black and pink cover of their new release, Rave Tapes, caught my eye and made me, shamefully, think about Mogwai again. Let’s say three time’s a charm, all right.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. When adapting the proverb a bit can one say, don’t judge the music by its album artwork? Maybe no straightforward answer can be given to this thought. However, when I first gazed at the cover of The Broken Man by Matt Elliott I began to wonder about this. Only in the bright daylight you can barely make out three black skeletal figures against a dark brown background. My feeling was confirmed after hearing the first track ‘Oh how we fell’. Starting off with some extensive guitar play and the gloomy sounds of church bells that is followed by a soft and tormented voice. During the lengthy opening Matt Elliott immediately takes you the depths of dreariness. After this first and relatively short introduction I can already conclude that this album isn’t for the masses. Indeed, the connoisseurs among us will enjoy this latest release of Elliott. As for me, The Broken Man significantly influenced my musical year in a positive way and is arguably the best album I heard in the past few years. Continue reading