REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Come On Die Young Lives Again

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Mogwai's defining work gets the deluxe reissue treatment

Released 16th June, Chemikal Underground Records, 4LP Boxset, 2CD, Download 9/10

Post rock (for want of a better term) always seemed optimised for EP rather than album, whether it be Godspeed You! Black Emperor's 
Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada or Mogwai's own seminal 
No Education = No Future (F**k the Curfew), it was a movement that best delivered the goods in 20 minute chunks. Despite being hugely acclaimed at the time - and ever since - Mogwai's debut album 
Young Team did nothing to challenge that assertion as despite breaking ground and undoubtedly helping to define the form, it was at times flabby and naive. However, so acclaimed was 
Young Team at the time that this, their second album proper arrived on such a wave of expectation that it was viewed by many as a slightly disappointing follow up. On this occasion, not for the first or the last time, the 'many' are wrong and 
Come on Die Young remains the bands finest and most cohesive hour, now reissued and expanded with contemporary out-takes and alternate versions. Of the two 'new' tracks here, Spoon Test and Satchel Panzer, the latter is a mere fragment and the former has appeared previously as part of a BBC session (and is quoted on the album proper as part of 
May Nothing but Happiness...), the rarities are first rate but many fans will already own them and the demos while interesting are not revelatory. However in gathering together all the non EP recordings from this era in the bands history it serves a valuable purpose for both hardcore and more casual listeners and a 4LP deluxe box promises a poster and the usual ephemera associated with deluxe reissues these days. Mogwai continue to release albums of consistently high quality, with 
Mr Beast from 2006 the probable highlight of a run which continued with 
Rave Tapes earlier this year. 
Come on Die Young however is a snapshot of that rare moment when artist and movement become one, building towards the deafening crescendo that is
Christmas Steps; impossible to separate, it is Post Rock's defining long form work, and
Christmas Steps is it's
A Day In the Life. If you don't own this album you should - indeed you must, but if you do it's difficult to argue that the extra material here truly adds to the legacy. The peerless run of EPs (
4 Satin, No Education=No Future and 
EP) remain a far more critical addition.