Music News


In the context of the Curiosa Festival, an apparent attempt to build an Ozzfest-like event around the nostalgia-fueled rediscovery of Robert Smith, Mogwai (below) is the odd band out. In a lineup that's chock-a-block with acts heavily indebted to the man with the pastiest complexion in show business, this Glaswegian combo can hardly be accused of imitation: Most of its material focuses not on vocals, but on sprawling aural landscapes intended to open ears and expand minds. Discs such as 2001's Rock Action and the 2003 EP Happy Songs for Happy People find cohorts Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchison, Martin Bulloch and John Cummings blending standard and atypical instrumentation throughout tracks that eschew the time-tested verse-verse-chorus structure in favor of moody creations that are infinitely more organic. The combo's efforts require active listening, which may be tough to come by at an outdoor venue in the bright glare of day. On the other hand, Mogwai's protoplasmic sounds are likely to be especially welcome on such a homogeneous bill. With luck, they may provide the remedy for too many clones of the Cure.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts