The Scottish post-rock band Mogwai was given an opportunity that seems to be rare in modern day entertainment. They exclusively recorded the soundtrack (released on Rock Action Records & Sub Pop Records) to complement the critically acclaimed French television series Les Revenants. A full length album’s worth of dark and dramatic tracks is a brand new addition to their previously sold out limited edition EP of songs from the show earlier this year.
What has been called “cosmic” rock has taken a decidedly dark turn with Les Revenants. While there are similarities to their previous albums with anthems of heavy distorted guitars and thundering drums, the overall tone is much more melancholy. This soundtrack perfectly harmonizes with the show’s haunting themes of zombies and death.
With each listen, you get a feel for the story without having to watch the television show. , it almost feels like I’m walking alone through the woods in the dark, feeling like someone is following me from the shadows in the foggy moonlight. There is no coincidence that “Les Revenants” is translated from French to English to “Ghosts”.
The musicianship cannot be ignored.The soundtrack is filled with with epic drums, twisted distortion from the guitar, and slow and steady piano anchored by trance-inducing instrumentals. It has the theatrical quality and consistency to underscore a big budget epic war film. Songs like “Modern” even hint at dubstep while “Relative Hysteria” definitely rings true to it’s title. “The Huts” is the simplest and most stirring song, which is a total contrast to the anthemic track “Wizard Motor” which rounds out the album’s heavy tone.
Vocals don’t make their appearance until the 13th track of the album which seems to be a fitting end. The song ”What are they doing in heaven today?” is as deep and dark as the rest of the soundtrack and plays perfectly with the same theme of death and ghosts. The lyrics “sin & sorrow are all gone away” is bittersweet and plays perfectly with the story that seems to send us back to the world of the living with a new perspective.
After listening to this album in its entirety, I am left feeling much more depressed and melancholy. However, fans of the band and television show should view this as a musical treat. It is made from the kind of stuff that makes you want to curl up into fetal position and wait out the zombie attack.