Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Download

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Download

Article excerpt

Can rock music be considered art? Generally it's only music released long ago that gets considered as such: Dylan, the Beatles, the Velvet Underground; even punk has had its intellectual adherents. Yet the Glasgow five-piece Mogwai has more in common with the abstract expressionists than with Kaiser Chiefs.

The loneliness of innovation drove Jackson Pollock to an early death, but Mogwai has outlived expectations, ploughing its own furrow of stunning guitar music for more than a decade. In the process, the band has garnered substantial critical acclaim and commercial success, despite lacking the "personality hook" that comes from having a photogenic lead singer--frequently, Mogwai has no vocalist at all.

It rarely does things the easy way. The group chose to release "My Father My King", a 20-minute rock version of a Jewish hymn, as a "single" in 2001. But the song was excluded from contending for a position in the charts because it was 21 seconds longer than the maximum limit (one suspects this was a deliberate ploy). …

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