As such a key figure in the evolution of post-rock music, it has become difficult for Mogwai to live up to past accomplishments. Indeed, it's generally agreed that the Glaswegian rockers have failed to surpass themselves ever since 2003's 'Happy Songs For Happy People'. Yet even by the standards of their last few albums, 'Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will' remains slightly underwhelming. Though a solid and consistent record, none of its ten tracks packs the punch we all know these Scots have in them.
One of Mogwai's strongest traits has always been their climaxes, their ability to gradually build mammoth walls of sound, or bring them crashing down at a moment's notice. Not so here; 'Hardcore...' remains largely on the one level, and without that wonderfully wide dynamic range, encompassing everything from the quietest of the quiet to the loudest of the loud, Mogwai's meandering instrumental melodies offer little to grab hold of.
Yet, it's difficult to attack the specifics of any given track here. They still employ the grizzly distortion, twinkling electronic glitches and vast atmospheres we've come to expect from Mogwai. The piano-driven 'Letters to the Metro' is soothing and pretty, filled out with underlying buzzing, bending guitar and soft keyboards, a track that would have sit perfectly among the mellow tones of 'Rock Music' or 'Happy Songs...', if perhaps overshadowed by superior fare. 'San Pedro', thankfully, puts a bit of oomph into its guitar hook, yet at just three and a half minutes length it's one of the shortest tunes in the Mogwai catalogue.
A fine album 'Hardcore Will Never Die' may be, but from a band of Mogwai's calibre, fine is a little disappointing.