Rock Action

  • Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Apr 24, 2001

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. Magnet
    A massively significant step forward.... Rock Action is so monumentally magisterial, it approaches near heretical status: the post-post-rock era's Sgt. Pet Sounds' Lonely Hearts Club Band.
  2. 90
    Mogwai has moved past relying on Slint-like soft/loud dynamics to get attention. Now it garners attention for the detail of its songwriting, the majority of which can now be heard without turning the volume to 11, only to receive a rude awakening at the crescendo.
  3. After you've listened to Rock Action for the first time, you may be hard pressed to believe that Mogwai merely wrote these songs; you'll feel as if they created these symphonies out of thin air, pulling gorgeous sounds from within the deepest recesses of the human soul. Eventually you'll come back down to earth and realize that Rock Action is by no means divine...but it is very, very good.
  4. At just over half an hour long, 'Rock Action' is a concise and robust statement of intent. It also contains some of the most beautiful and mesmerising music you'll hear this or any other year.
  5. Gone are the meandering Sonic Youth impressions, and in their place are imaginative songs that don't alienate.
  6. Restraint they were always good at, but now they're masters, and the melancholy that swelled up all over Young Team like a particularly ripe bruise is here for all the world to see in 'Rock Action''s damp eyes.
  7. Granted, it's not mind-blowing, and it's not nearly as masterfully executed and affecting as their earliest work. But there are only a handful of bands out there that can put out an album as well-constructed as Rock Action and still expect people to bitch and moan about it.
  8. Every note of 'Rock Action' wins every fight they've ever started, touched with an imagination and awareness of the potential of sound that puts them so far up on the moral high ground they're almost lost in the clouds.
  9. This is their most rewarding yet, built to enjoy in one 38-minute session, languid, melancholy tunes growing out of barely audible static pulses, incoherently Vocodered whispers or preposterously exciting cymbal splashes, carried on by soft pianos, vulgarity-free brass and strings into Bitch Magnet-meets-Samuel Barber electric cataclysms.
  10. Alternative Press
    The subtle electronic touches give Mogwai's production a suitably enigmatic dimension. [#155, p.78]
  11. Spin
    An immaculate 38-minute lullaby for the not-working class, replete with tape hiss and timpani, sweetly brooding vocals, and otherworldly Hobbit-core. [5/2001, p.147]
  12. 80
    If beauty and ambition be the defining values of that album title concept, they're served up here in spades.
  13. Eschewing the sprawling, double-album ethos that marked the group's early entries into indie rock, Rock Action is also more concentrated and less elliptical
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. May 17, 2011
    This is a damn near perfect.

    Sine Wave opens the album with a wall of sound so powerful it nearly crushes you to death before Take Me
    This is a damn near perfect.

    Sine Wave opens the album with a wall of sound so powerful it nearly crushes you to death before Take Me Somewhere Nice soothes you with it's lush surge, while pondering spaceships over Glasgow.

    Dial: Revenge is a heartbreaking Gruff Rhys-lead tragedy of some kind.

    You Don't Know Jesus easily perfects the heavy build up then 2 right Make 1 Wrong glories in a cinematic soundscape that would put a smile on anyone's face.

    It ends with a Secret Pint, like a drunk friend falling through your front door before opening his heart to you.

    In all seriousness, there's barely a wasted note on Rock Action, Mogwai have tried & came close, but they've never bettered it.
    Full Review »
  2. Tubz
    Jan 23, 2005
    Very Pure. Good Album Overall!
  3. mg
    Nov 21, 2002
    very uneven, and they shouldn't sing. sine wave is excellent.