Mogwai plays slowly, but works quickly.
The Glaswegian quintet’s early output — 1997’s “Young Team,” and 1999’s “Come On Die Young” — was instrumental in defining the post-rock genre, and its awe-inspiring live performances remain among the loudest on Earth.
Its studio recordings, though, have grown increasingly tough to pin down — post-post-rock? — and its eighth LP, “Rave Tapes,” out Tuesday on Seattle’s Sub Pop label, is no exception.
Just as guitar-oriented material like the contemplative “Heard About You Last Night” (listen) and gliding “Hexon Bogon” (listen) serves to summarize where Mogwai’s been, streetwise single “Remurdered” (listen) offers insight into where it’s going, its busy, buzzy synthesizers conjuring Tangerine Dream’s ‘80s movie scores — or, for younger audiences, Cliff Martinez’s soundtrack to 2011’s “Drive.”
Despite a few minor missteps — the ten-song set’s eclectic A-side leaves a stronger impression than its uniformly somber second half, and the puzzling “Repelish” (listen), with its spoken-word analysis of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” lyrics, feels like a joke the listener isn’t in on — “Rave Tapes” stands as another worthy addition to a catalog so consistent it’s too often taken for granted.
Stream the whole album here.