sun 14/07/2024

CD: Mogwai - KIN: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mogwai - KIN: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

CD: Mogwai - KIN: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Scottish post-rock group continues an impressive run of form

"This is Hollywood, baby!"

Following on from last year’s blistering blast of conviction, Every Country’s Sun, it’s tempting to view Mogwai’s latest offering – the soundtrack to a new sci-fi action drama from the producers of Stranger Things – as a continuation of this return to form. There are, however, a couple of problems with this view. 

Firstly, it’s not strictly speaking a return to form. Mogwai are a band who have rarely, if ever, put a foot wrong in their 23-year career. From 95’s Mogwai Young Team onwards, their career has been defined by deft assurance in their compelling and singular vision. It’s hard to judge them against any standard but their own. 

Secondly, although KIN fits neatly into the Mogwai canon, it also demands to be considered as a separate entity. While it’s not their first foray into soundtrack work, the band having already given us the score to 2006 documentary Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait and worked with Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet on The Fountain the same year, this is a demonstrably bigger deal – this is Hollywood baby! 

The mournful, elegiac “Donuts” and pop-not-pop closer “We’re Not Done (end credits)” have already seen the light of day and provide two very distinct counterpoints. However, viewed as part of a whole, they make perfect sense. 

What falls in between is both emotionally involving and satisfyingly functional. Piano motifs – or at least a similarity of tonal colour – provide a neat thread, particularly through lush title track “KIN”, the sparse, poignant “Miscreants” and  the album’s opener “Eli’s Theme”. This lends a strong sense of story to the collection and so, one assumes by extension, the film. 

The delicate, shimmering oscillations of “Scrap” wax and wane, before giving way to “Flee”. This propulsive beast of a song, a building swell of electronics, guitars, piano and drums contains an almost homeopathic hint of John Carpenter, or perhaps Moroder’s “Chase” after a fistful of Mogadon. Whichever, the sense of movement and drama is palpable.

It’s difficult to imagine a band better placed to drive narrative than Mogwai, whose ability to build tension with a bewildering breadth of emotional scope seems built into their very DNA. Like the best screenplays, Mogwai don’t tell, they show, and they do so with a visceral sense of drama – that is KIN’s greatest strength.


Mogwai's ability to build tension with a bewildering breadth of emotional scope seems built into their very DNA


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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