Scottish post-rock heroes Mogwai is the band most instrumental rock groups that have started in the past decade want to be when they grow up. Beginning with 1997's epic Young Team and continuing with the release of the group's eighth studio LP, last January's Rave Tapes, Stuart Braithwaite, John Cummings, Dominic Aitchison, Martin Bulloch and Barry Burns have found inventive ways to avoid the sonic monotony that many guitar-driven instrumental rock acts eventually suffer from. Loud, quiet, loud and back again is great, but Mogwai pushes the formula with each record, whether it is a proper studio album or a film score.
While lyrics in Mogwai numbers are really rare, the band still finds ways to convey a rather sharp, sometimes perplexing, sense of humor. The song titles are often employed as vehicles to simply give the band a giggle, and nothing more, though so many titles are thought provoking, especially the many songs bearing titles with seemingly religious connotations. Guitarist Cummings admitted as much to the Observer when we spoke to him recently over the phone.
"None of the song titles with religious terms are pointed at any particular form of spirituality," he says in his thick Scottish brogue. "Our song titles are decided on by what gives us a chuckle, really. It's really that simple much of the time; it's whatever makes us laugh."
With that in mind, what better way to prepare for Mogwai's Wednesday night show at the Granada Theater in Dallas than by offering up a few of the group's best biblically named compositions.
5. "Punk Rock/Puff Daddy/Antichrist" - C'mon. We all know it's either Oprah or P-Diddy. Mogwai seems to take a side in this short, moody track from their sophomore studio album, Come On Die Young.
4. "You Don't Know Jesus" - A fine example of the climactic scope of their overall identity from 2001's Rock Action LP.
3. "Repelish" - From this year's stellar Rave Tapes, a voice rants about Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and Satan with a synthy, mid-tempo beat backing it up. A funky curveball on what is likely the band's most sonically diverse studio album.
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2. "Devil Rides" - This melodic treat, featuring the hauntingly menacing vocals of a then newly re-discovered Roky Erickson from 2008's The Hawk is Howling is simply killer. Surely the Devil was impressed.
1. "Mogwai Fear Satan" - Don't we all? Also, it's fun to refer to ourselves in the third person. Oh, lest we forget, this is the grandest, most righteous track on the album that started it all for the band. Every second of the tune's 10-plus minute run time is worthy and whopping.