Ever since the stunning scene in 28 Days Later when Cillian Murphy's character wakes to find London transformed into a wasteland set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's "East Hastings," post-rock and zombies have gone hand in rotting hand, and with good reason: the style's mix of dramatic dynamics and poignant melodies conveys the massive dread and shock of living in a world where the dead walk the earth. Mogwai, who have explored death and horror imagery in their music since the beginning and have written scores to Zidane and Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, were long overdue to write music for a project like Les Revenants, their score for the French TV series based on the 2004 film of the same name. In the show, the dead rise from their graves, but the world doesn't end and panic doesn't necessarily ensue (immediately, anyway). Reflecting this, Mogwai's music is more of a slow burn than a musical inferno. Les Revenants is a true score in that it rarely draws attention to itself unnecessarily, and these cues evoke moods rather than forcing them. This music is often restrained, even gentle, at times recalling the softest moments on early EPs like Ten Rapid on tracks like "Relative Hysteria," "Special N," and "Fridge Magic," which twinkles with a frosty menace. There's even a lullaby of sorts in "What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?," one of a handful of singalongs in the band's songbook. Of course, there are a few moments of drama, most notably in the score's bookends "Hungry Face" and "Wizard Motor" and the ominous, fuzz bass-driven "This Messiah Needs Watching," but even those tracks never explode the way that albums like Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will did. And that's a good thing: as much as Mogwai are known for defining post-rock's sound, they're just as good at defying expectations, which Les Revenants does with an intimate, low-key brilliance.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares