Come on Die Young

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"Too much, too soon" is a tattered rock & roll cliché, but it continues to tell the tale of many young bands, such as Glasgow's acclaimed post-rock collective Mogwai. Usually, the phrase is hauled out to describe an intoxicated downward spiral by bands that had too much success all at once, but Mogwai suffered too much praise -- too many accolades from critics, too much reverence from underground hipsters. The singles compilation Ten Rapid and the debut Young Team deserved all the acclaim they earned, but a funny thing happened while Mogwai was recording their much-anticipated second album, ironically titled Come on Die Young -- the band went stale, producing a lethargic trawl through post-Slint and Sonic Youth territory. Where their free-form noise improvisations were utterly enthralling on their earlier records, the ebb and flow is entirely too familiar throughout Come on Die Young, largely because they follow the same pattern on each song. And each cut blends into the next, creating the impression of one endless track that teeters between deliberately dreamy crawls and random bursts of noise. Granted, that was the blueprint for Young Team, but there is little dynamism anywhere on Come on Die Young. Mogwai repeat the same riffs with the same inflection, never pushing themselves toward new sonic territory, yet never hitting a mesmerizing trance. It feels like a degraded photocopy of their earlier records -- it's possible to discern the initial spark that made them fascinating, but this current incarnation is too smudged and muddy to hold attention on its own terms. Perhaps Come on Die Young wouldn't have seemed as disappointing if it hadn't arrived on the wave of hype and expectation, but the truth is, it pales in comparison to their own work.

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