Fourth album from Glasgow cosmic post-rock band, following 2001's "Rock Action". Expanding on that album's more melodicsound rather than the loudness of their "My Father My King" EP, this record is subtler, more expansive and organic than anything they have done. It is modestly described on the band's website as 'forty one minutes fifty seconds of total unadulterated brilliance'.
At first glance, the album title Happy Songs for Happy People seems almost as ironic as the name of their previous album, Rock Action. After listening to the album, however, it's apparent that its title isn't just meant as a joke. Though "happy" isn't necessarily the first word that springs to mind when describing the band's intricate, brooding style, it is a word and emotion that is both simple and profound, much like the direction Mogwai's music takes here. Happy Songs for Happy People takes the focus and restraint of Rock Action to greater lengths, but it never feels like a rehash of their previous work. The palette of sounds the band uses -- which includes rolling guitars and pianos, swelling strings, persuasive but un-showy drumming, and occasional forays into distortion and electronics -- is a relatively small one, but the band uses it wisely on tracks as diverse as the lovely, understated "Kids Will Be Skeletons" (arguably the "happiest" song on the album) and the gloriously dense finale, "Stop Coming to My House," which piles layers and layers of distorted drums, guitars, and synths atop each other. Mogwai also employs its usual quietly beautiful/explosively noisy dynamic formula expertly, particularly on the gorgeous "Killing All the Flies," which feels much longer (in a good way) than four and a half minutes.