• Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Sep 23, 2008
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. These 10 songs evolve unhurriedly and, as with all Mogwai's best moments, like time-lapse photography from the heart of a dark storm.
  2. The Hawk Is Howling may not induce the apprehensive anxiety of "Happy Songs For Happy People" or even match the apocalyptic ambience of "Rock Action," but when taken in isolation, even outside of the Mogwai name, it holds its own as Mogwai's first solely instrumental album
  3. Hawk makes marginal stylistic advances that it could stand to omit, and it lightly retreads stuff that needs no recapitulation.
  4. Despite its lack of youthful anarchy, The Hawk Is Howling is an impressive record. Mogwai are among the world's most gifted musical collectives; perhaps they have just been making music too long to want or need to reinvent the game again.
  5. The Hawk is Howling is an immensely satisfying, patient, and expertly crafted album that ranks among their best.
  6. 90
    The Hawk is Howling is Mogwai at its best.
  7. At first, it's tempting to want all of The Hawk Is Howling to be as obviously powerful as its biggest tracks, but with time it reveals itself as one of Mogwai's most masterful blends of delicacy and strength.
  8. The lyric-free songs are awe-inspiring, yet accessible.
  9. The Hawk Is Howling is a record that shows Mogwai's lips to be sealed, but speaks volumes about their depth and ingenuity.
  10. Hawk Is Howling is a reassertion of Mogwai's strengths and testimony that they are still credible and productive.
  11. Masters at building tension upon tension then gently letting it go, their cyclical instrumentals are both sorrowful and consoling.
  12. 60
    When they work up a good buzz and growl ('Batcat') or hit a scrumptious riff ('The Sun Smells Too Loud'), Mogwai still take your breath away.
  13. Using a combination of brilliant textures and powerful, atypical chord progressions, Mogwai paint a picture equivalent to an auto-stereogram, popularized in those Magic Eye books 15 years ago. You almost need to loose your focus to let the music really sink in.
  14. The Hawk Is Howling is just an ambiguous mixture of the band's past.
  15. 80
    Rest easy, the group that makes you wish you’d gone to film school so you could’ve built a movie around its expansive instrumentals--works that seem to come rumbling from the molten core of the earth itself--hasn’t changed much from the glory days of early albums such as 1997’s "Young Team."
  16. This one is subtle, but very much worth exploring.
  17. It's a page out of Mogwai grandchildren Ratatat's playbook, and it shows these Scots doing something we haven't seen them do in a while: evolve.
  18. The songs are classic Mogwai, only more sophisticated--and, as such, startling different.
  19. Mogwai could very well go their entire career without quite making that perfect album, but when everything they put out is this intricate, idiosyncratic, and immersive, it’s splitting hairs to even care.
  20. Hawk wades through the electronic textures and the roiling, tentative mood pieces that make Mogwai's weaker tunes logical (if not ideal) soundtrack fodder. The result, unfortunately, is a lot of running in place, when at this point it'd be far more daring to aim skyward.
  21. Under The Radar
    80
    This album kills. [Fall 2008, p.77]
  22. Mojo
    80
    The Hawk Is Howling finds the Glasgow's guitar army relaxing the taut, economical songcraft of its 2006 predecessor, "Mr. Beast," and setting a new standard for irreverent track titles. [Oct 2008, p.102]
  23. Alternative Press
    80
    There's plenty of classic Mogwai downtempo and hypnotic trance, the likes of which will make you reconsider flippantly using the phrase "epic as fuck" again. [Oct 2008, p.160]
  24. Uncut
    60
    Fine, but no surprises. [Oct 2008, p.101]
  25. Q Magazine
    60
    The Hawk Is Howling is similarly impressive [to "Mr. Beast"], the band's earlier experiments in noise more reined in, allowing a subtle and textured approach. [Oct 2008, p.149]
  26. Not that a few half-baked progressions spell disaster for Hawk, a record that methodically moves from dreamy, lush, introspective numbers to tension and ultimately catharsis in the way Mogwai is close to perfecting.
  27. Filter
    84
    How can Scots with such a wry sense of humor make you believe they are so very, very serious? Sometimes the song titles speak for themselves, almost seperate from the music. [Fall 2008, p.94]
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. May 13, 2011
    7
    Mogwai have been really bouncing around different things in these last few years and are getting on to something here. Every song is great butMogwai have been really bouncing around different things in these last few years and are getting on to something here. Every song is great but what keeps them from absolute perfection is that they are all about 3 minutes too long and the songwriting doesn't change enough for a song like "the sun smells too loud" to be 6 minutes. Full Review »