mogwai is possibly today's most revered instrumental rock band, so who's this guy singing in welsh over a string section on the group's new album?
"we've never said we're an instrumental band," says mogwai lead man stuart braithwaite regarding "dial:revenge," a cut on their upcoming matador release, rock action, on which super furry animals singer gruff rhys adds incomprehensible vocals.
the forthcoming lp is actually the most even-keel, user-friendly work the scottish quintet has made. so why is it called rock action?
"i wanted to call it watch out you slut," offers guitarist/vocalist braithwaite in his thick scottish brogue. "we operate in a democracy, but no matter how many copies of the record say rock action, it'll always be called watch out you slut as far as i'm concerned. no other reason than i like the sound of those words."
mogwai is renowned for epic sprawls, if not album titles, so why is the new album, one of the year's highly anticipated releases (april 24), barely longer than 1999's ep+2?
"i think people were expecting this huge opus from us. ... there's so many contradictions in the things we do. i think that we just revel in the contradictions."
so the truth comes out: mogwai can be purposefully obtuse. even so, it's nearly always to the benefit of the listener. it was the confounding clash of simple, graceful tunes and pulverizingly loud distortion that first brought mogwai stateside attention upon the 1997 releases of singles compilation ten rapid and proper debut mogwai young team, which continues to grow in stature.
after '99's dark, spartan misfire, come on die young, mogwai has settled into a breathtaking homeostasis that actually begs the question hinted at by the hyperbole-heavy british press: will mogwai transcend rock & roll to become the symphonic maestros of the next century?
"we'd never be so pompous as to say we're the new beethoven," says the unpredictable braithwaite, "but we all strive to push ourselves and create something new. ... it's really good to be able to bring in extra musicians and fill stuff out and experiment. but the album after this one might be all noise."