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Scottish post-rock band Mogwai believes in grand crescendos. Their musical structures are rife with a quiet-loud-quiet dynamic, which never fails to jolt you out of your thoughts. Over the years, Mogwai has stuck to this formula, rarely moving on to a different sound. However, their last year's album Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will broke away from the familiar. All the tracks are fast-paced yet serene. It comes as no surprise then, that their latest album, A Wrenched and Virile Lore is a lot more gritty; incorporating electronic remixes of the tracks from their last album.
A Wrenched and Virile Lore combines a variety of artists, in their 10-track album, including Godflesh's Justin Broadrick, space-rock duo Zombi, and San Francisco-based punk band, The Soft Moon. Most of the remixed tracks are stronger than their original: with haunting acoustic-guitar riffs in Scottish-guitarist Hubbert's version of Mexican Grand Prix, the thumping beats of Zombi's pacier remix of Letters to The Metro and a special mention to the opening synthesizer solo from Broadrick's version of George Square Thatcher Death Party.
There are some tracks, though, that sound like mere covers of the original. The Soft Moon's San Pedro, for example, retains the same flavour and structure of its original, and merely sets the song in a different melodic background. On the other hand, Canadian musician Tim Hecker's version of Rano Pano steers miles away from the original, adding unnecessary beats that produces an overpopulated after-effect. Both these tracks are better in the original album, and could easily have been skipped.
Critics of the album say that a remixed reworking cannot stand alone as a separate record. However, while Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will has a subtle, intimate set of tracks, the remixes of A Wrenched and Virile Lore are transformative, they work like a jack-in-the-box as they pop up and manage a different reaction from you each time you listen to them.