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18. Mogwai – Batcat

06/12/2009

Batcat is so slackened and gory, yet simultaneously crisp and sharp, that listening to it is like watching a horrendous but unavoidably captivating piece of ultraviolence in super slow-mo. The opening 20 seconds are presented at normal speed, and then bang: the incident arrives and the frame-rate heads skywards. Grizzly overdriven bass guitars snap like bones in a Sky Sports injury shocker replay; the walloped, hissing cymbals spurt super-choreographed Tarantino group-battle blood, each high-def droplet colliding, molecule by molecule, with pristine pressed cotton; the howling guitars are cars crashing across a racetrack, end over end like a ragdoll cast out of a petulant pram. As a spectacle, it’s awesome. And the reason that it all works so well is because Batcat is essentially a slowed speed-metal record, executed with all of the punch and aggression of that genre but with dramatic down-shifts in tempo that simply insist you probe the track’s innards. Then, just to augment the experience, like with all good action replays, Mogwai play it again: the back half of Batcat is simply an even more monstrous performance of the front, and the fiercest track that Mogwai have produced this decade is no less compelling a second time around.

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