Mogwai - Central Belters - 3CD
As Mogwai closed in on their 20th anniversary, they released Central Belters, a sprawling career retrospective whose title riffed on the Central Belt region of Scotland they called home.
The first two-thirds of Central Belters traces the evolution from 1996's debut single "Summer" to 2014's "Teenage Exorcists," one of the band's poppiest and most vocal-driven song to date (indeed, the collection features notably more songs with vocals than the average Mogwai album). In between, the collection touches on highlights such as "New Paths to Helicon, Pt. 1," "Christmas Steps," and "Hunted by a Freak," one of the tracks that heralded the band's increasingly electronic output in the 2000s and 2010s. Central Belters includes some fine examples of this direction in "The Sun Smells Too Loud," "How to Be a Werewolf," and "Remurdered" and also reflects the band's ongoing passion for symphonic grandeur ("I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead") and metal ("Batcat").
The set's final third gathers B-sides, highlights from the band's soundtrack work, and other loose ends, although "D to E" is the collection's only previously unreleased track. Standouts include "Hungry Face" from the Les Revenats soundtrack, the Roky Erickson cameo on "The Devil Rides," and, of course, the perennial Mogwai concert finale "My Father My King," which the band transformed from a traditional Jewish folk song into a 20-minute epic.