With a release date of Valentine's Day and the charming title of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, Mogwai have got juxtaposition of expectations down to an art form. Their last album The Hawk Is Howling was as surprising in its complete lack of vocals and spoken word as Happy Songs For Happy People was in its evolution towards the band's more electronic sound. As such the Scottish quintet's seventh studio album is anything but the genre they imply in its title, and in fact it's probably the most restrained album they've recorded. Yet what Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will lacks in numerous swelling build ups and climax, it more than makes up for with the band's seemingly more mature and diverse sound of richly textured soundscapes and intense craftmanship.

Collaborating once more with Paul Savage, the producer responsible for their 1997 debut Mogwai Young Team, Mogwai have created a record that on first listen is destined to divide opinion. Those longing for the more classic post-rock moments of old, such as those climatic build ups during 'Hunted By A Freak' and 'Like Herod' are likely to be surprised by Mogwai's comparatively demure offerings on Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will , yet once this revelation is overcome it is more surprising that Mogwai's newer, more accessible sound is just as powerful as the epic riffs and stunning silences that the band are recognised for.

Opening with 'White Noise', itself a perfect manifestation of the song's titled process, the soft early notes of a lone guitar overlapping the quiet background chatter and laughter signify Mogwai's technical changes from the offset. After their syncopated beginnings, the drums gain pace and momentum, while additions of echoing piano notes join the crescendo, and a keyboard takes on the central melody, itself a repetitive refrain that stays steady and soars over the other tiers of instruments as they in turn mutate and add contrast to the song.

'Mexican Grand Prix' establishes its rhythm with an analogue drum machine that sets the pace before prolonged electronic organ notes penetrate the proceedings, overlapping an unexpected Joy Division-esque bass line with almost indecipherable vocodered vocals. As with the majority of Mogwai's music, lyrics and vocals are almost non-existent, and apart from the aforementioned 'Mexican Grand Prix' and the wonderfully titled 'George Square Thatcher Death Party', where further muted vocodered vocals break the otherwise instrumental model, the rest of the album remains lyric-less. Yet as these sparse vocals are so distorted they sound almost like an additional instrument, another sonic component rather than words and meaning. Yet this is not a problem, for as their six previous records demonstrate Mogwai have an innate capability to create vast visual landscapes through their instruments alone.

The album's single 'Rano Pano' is another stripped back affair in comparison to their older material. Starting with just a single guitar melody on top of waves of distortion, one by one further instruments are included, creating a continuous cannon of melodies. When the electronic harmonies are incorporated the song becomes an ongoing refrain of replicated choruses, the percussion and ever-increasing keys adding contrast and colour to the track. While on first impressions the song's formation may seem simplistic, its repetitive melody the centre of the song, upon further listens it becomes clear that this apparent ease is purely Mogwai's knack for making their songs sound effortless, and that there is a lot more stirring beneath the surface, not least the band members' technical abilities.

Although Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will may be a mellower affair in comparison to the band's previous offerings, the audible feedback ensures that Mogwai's music loses none of its genre-defining industrial edge. These waves of distortion provide a seamless transition between each of the tracks, and insert a certain level of consistency amongst the album's range, welding the album together. Meanwhile the penultimate track 'Too Raging To Cheers' contains one of the best breakdowns on the entire album. While it begins with beautifully crafted passages of piano, other instruments are gradually incorporated, accumulating in a continuing frenetic climax towards the end of the track, before it implodes and the bass line and feedback slowly wind down. This is maintained on album closer 'You're Lionel Richie' as the soft, thumping notes slowly transcend through the track. As it ends with slower, diminishing melodies, the muted high notes of a keyboard are filtered through until they are the song's only remains. As the album fades into silence, all that is left are waves of stillness and a moment to reflect upon the calmer nature Mogwai's latest release.

Ultimately it's the technical elements that Mogwai combine along with their obvious skills as musicians that make this album so special. Tranquil and diverse, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will impresses with its drawn out, yet technically intense weavings of soft beauty and intricate layering of orchestration. While it may not be remembered as Mogwai's most ground-breaking release, with their capacity for continuously inspiring and reinventing the post-rock genre that they have grown to epitomise, and like their venture into live film with Burning last year, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will will almost certainly be a pivotal turning point for the band and a creative stepping stone into the next fragment of their illustrious careers.

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