Sound — 7
It's funny how bands that end up being major proponents of the music genre they're categorized in don't necessarily approve of the label they bear: Soundgarden didn't fancy calling themselves a grunge band, Suicide Silence tries to distance themselves from the deathcore subgenre they helped establish, and Mogwai have never been fans of the term "post-rock." But regardless of their feelings towards the semantics, they've been steadily composing their brand of unconventional, slow-progressing instrumental rock for about two decades; releasing eight studio albums, over ten EPs, and putting their atmospheric touch on tracks from other fellow UK-based bands like Manic Street Preachers and Bloc Party. With the release of their eighth album, "Rave Tapes," earlier this year, Mogwai decided to take some b-sides from the recording sessions of that album and include some remixes of tracks from the album to bring forth their new EP, "Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1."
The stigma that comes with b-side tracks is the inferiority complex that comes with the nature of the term - after all, there's a reason why some tracks get cut from the album. However, the b-sides offered in this EP show that these tracks that didn't make it onto "Rave Tapes" weren't because they were the undeniable chaff of the recording sessions, but because they would essentially clash with the mood Mogwai were trying to set with the album. With much of the music in "Rave Tapes" having a light and jazzy feel to it, the original cuts offered in "Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1." contain more energy by comparison: "Teenage Exorcists" is a conventionally-structured post-punk/shoegaze song equipped with warm and fuzzy guitars and pounding tom drums; "History Day" is a more traditional-Mogwai post-rock song that travels from airy synth pads and gentle guitar parts, breaks with nice piano melody, then climbs into a proper crest of droning guitars and synthetic-boosted beats; and "HMP Shaun William Ryder" slowly burns with a bassline leading a sleigh of chiming synth tones, where the guitars play support until they climax at the end with a tremolo solo - though Mogwai opt to fade out of that finale a bit sooner than necessary.
The remixes, on the other hand, are a much less integral half of the EP. "Re-Remurdered (Blanck Mass Remix)" is the strongest reimagining of Mogwai's original song, which is fueled with a dark, brooding beat and also adds some new chord progressions along with the original melody. "No Medicine For Regret (Pye Corner Audio Remix)" draws things out for too long before finally establishing a groove and building the string section at the end, and "The Lord Is Out of Control (Nils Frahm Remix)" does little else different to the original song but affix the main melody to a piano, though the original version of that track wasn't that elaborate to begin with.
Lyrics — 7
As expected of Mogwai's status quo when it comes to lyrics and vocals, only one song on the EP contains them: "Teenage Exorcists." However, the nature of these lyrics is much different to what's expected from the band when they decide to sing to their music. Normally, Mogwai's utilization of lyrics is avant-garde, to establish inquisition or introduce another sonic texture to a song; but the lyrics in "Teenage Exorcists" are exclusively fashioned in a catchy manner that's way more sing-a-long inducing than one would ever figure Mogwai to strive for. In tandem with the catchiness, there isn't much depth to the lyrics - amongst the heavily repeated hook of "it's undone and uncertain/an apology accepted" are bite-sized verses ("I tried to want it back/I tried to turn it back" and "I said nothing/I said too much/I think you are a good good person") - but as simple as they may be, hearing Mogwai step out of their introspective demeanor to deliver something anthemic is a nice curveball.
Overall Impression — 7
Normally, b-sides only end up being appreciated by a band's more dedicated echelon of fans that want anything and everything by the band, but "Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1." proves to be more than just extra cuts from "Rave Tapes." The stronger nature of these tracks that Mogwai withheld from "Rave Tapes" would have cluttered the overall smooth vibe of the album had they been included. Instead, Mogwai craft the EP to act as a foil to the album, providing a new dimension to "Rave Tapes" in addendum. Though the remixes included on the EP are more or less superfluous, "Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1." achieves substantial congruency with Mogwai's catalog.