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'How to Be a Werewolf' by Mogwai

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Mogwai: Tearing Through The Noise

Mogwai: Tearing Through The Noise

'How to Be a Werewolf' by Mogwai

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Mogwai's "How to Be a Werewolf" builds into a hypnotic drone of repetitive guitar phrases. Steve Gullick hide caption

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Steve Gullick

Mogwai's "How to Be a Werewolf" builds into a hypnotic drone of repetitive guitar phrases.

Steve Gullick

Monday's Pick

Song: "How to Be a Werewolf"

Artist: Mogwai

CD: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Genre: Rock

After Special Moves, a 2010 live album showcasing its best material, Mogwai is ditching the nostalgia and moving on to a new sound. The Glasgow band is often touted for the cinematic dynamics and slow-building instrumentation of its early albums, but recent releases have been more outspoken than ponderous. The new Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will might be Mogwai's most straightforward album yet, getting down to the basics of what makes this a rock band.

"How to Be a Werewolf" welcomes the listener with looped hums, but it's not long before heavy drums bring tempo into the equation. Atmospheric hums swell in the background against warm bass, as the song builds into a hypnotic drone of repetitive guitar phrases. Soon, a wall of distortion brings the music to a voluminous plateau while a piercing solo tears through the noise. At this point, Mogwai begins to feed on its own energy: The music's meticulous start has transitioned into a full-on jam session.

Mogwai doesn't milk the moments between these highs and lows, but the group's signature peaks and valleys are still here. They're just more concise.