Home / Mogwai- Happy Songs For Happy People- Matador 2003

Mogwai- Happy Songs For Happy People- Matador 2003

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“… the lovely melody that emerges halfway through Kids Will Be Skeletons is New Order via the Cure’s Disentegration, while Stop Coming To My House recalls My Bloody Valentine. Occasionally muffled vocals whisper through the noise; if they know the secrets of this majestic music, they’re not telling.”

Music OMH

“It’s immediately clear that the word “happy” in the title would be better replaced by “blissful”, for the overwhelming vibe of this record is chilled. The songs exist largely as looped refrains which progress by collecting extra layers of instrumentation rather than by exploring interesting musical paths. Sticking together all manner of noises, from guitar and piano through vocals digested by a vocoder and regurgitated, owl-like, as though mouse droppings, the band serenely create the kind of music that’s best heard on a CD player late at night with the lights off.”


“While bright dawn bursts of electronica that gradually build to soaring climaxes of sheer emotional release only prove how empty words can seem in comparison.”

No Ripcord

“In all it’s an album that sees Mogwai doing all of what they’ve done well over the years – endorphin-guitars, strange yet fascinating avant-garde percussion, and spiralling, complex song-structures. Perhaps, with their greater experience, they’re taking on a greater range, and maybe, just maybe, they’re a bit cheerier than before. Regardless, Mogwai are an institution, and unlike the Royal Family or the Electoral College, don’t need to be put up against the wall.”


“When the world comes to whatever ignominious end we choose, Happy Songs for Happy People will be playing somewhere. It’ll be the instrumental soundtrack to everyone’s collective thoughts of anger, resentment, acceptance, and then, ultimately– after everyone’s had time to reflect and make peace with whatever the hell it is they’re trying to reconcile at that particular moment– it’ll also be the soundtrack to great big letdown of, y’know, the world ending.”

Play Louder

“This is Mogwai distilled to their essence, and the result is an album of huge power, emotional depth and feeling, with vocals submerged under a claustrophobic blanket of effects and guitars battling with viola, cello, violin and piano. It’s just as Eno as it is S***t, and all the greater for that.”

Dot Music

“Despite the multifarious sounds and orchestral arrangements, the music on ‘Happy Songs For Happy People’ feels easy, due to Mogwai’s acute grasp of melody. Unlike many of their post-rock contemporaries, their poised compositions are capable of attracting more than a handful of post-rock aficionados. Just don’t expect them to be surging up the singles chart any time soon. They’re much too good for that.”

Drowned in Sound

“This is new, measured and condensed Mogwai, where a song formerly set for 8 minutes has been concertinaed into three-and-a-half, like one bit hit of psychotropics rather than a drip feed of morphine. The intensity remains the same, the ferocity equally unequalled, but it’s created through deft use of multi-instrumentation and a high-developed appreciation of scope and impact rather than a reliance on those Fender Blender guitar pedals and a post-Tap Marshall amps that goes up to 12.”

Cool Noise

“…Mogwai manage to create music that has the same emotional impact and melodic yearnings as some of the great guitar-based songsmiths such as Sonic Youth.”

Umbrella Music

“On only three tracks (the slow-build-and-release “Ratts of the Capital”, “Stop Coming to My House”, and “Killing All the Flies”) do they ever really let fly (albeit briefly) with some heavy guitar intensity. The rest of the record is comprised of blissed-out, mellow and oceanic soundscapes, soft and dark and a little scary.”

Junk Media

“In actuality, time spent identifying a standout track among this nine-song collection is futile. Happy Songs for Happy People is a great record due in no small part to its cohesion, its uninterrupted flow”


“It’s often complex, but this isn’t over-studied music that appeals only to people with a PhD in Beards. Mogwai aren’t the sort of band to harp on about how they achieved a neat atonal effect by restringing their guitars with Jim O’Rourke’s pubic hair.”

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  • You used my CoolNoise site in your review extracts – thanks. It seems I do have some readers after all!