By the 2010s, post-rock had been around long enough that the style’s artists could look back to their roots. Mogwai does that on Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, from the title’s bone-dry humor to the band’s reunion with Young Team producer Paul Savage. The musical DNA of Young Team -- and its definitive track “Like Herod” in particular -- is everywhere on Hardcore Will Never Die, informing the doomy coda of “Too Raging to Cheers” as well as opening track “White Noise”'s graceful melodic arcs, which lure the listener in rather than making a grand statement. Indeed, the album carries much of its emotional weight in its keyboard melodies, whether it’s the subtle soar of “Death Rays” or the more mournful tones of “Letters to the Metro.” Compared to the epic sprawl of The Hawk Is Howling, Hardcore Will Never Die feels simpler and more structured. The album’s rock songs, including “Mexican Grand Prix” and “San Pedro,” feel almost like a theme Mogwai returns to throughout the album, with driving motorik rhythms and precipitous riffing that get heads nodding vigorously, if not exactly banging. Mogwai tease listeners with tantalizing glimpses of their full power as the album progresses with “Rano Pano”'s shimmering majesty and “How to Be a Werewolf”'s epic solo, but they save Hardcore Will Never Die's definitive onslaught for last. “You’re Lionel Richie” combines the driest wit with the heaviest rock -- a quintessential Mogwai move -- as it builds from quasi-classical guitar figures to a scorching climax. As impressive as this moment is, it underscores how much smaller and subtler this album is than what came before it. While the album is far from rote, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will certainly feels familiar; it may not be as immediately impressive as some Mogwai albums, but its back-to-basics approach makes it another fine addition to their body of work.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares