Mogwai's first album-length release was the compilation TENRAPID. Intended for the U.S. market, the album collects tracks from the band's early singles and compilation appearances--though collectors may want to note that several tracks were re-recorded for inclusion here. Those early singles made a huge splash in England, their dense sonics prompting critical comparisons to My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3, and other progenitors of the shoegazer movement. As with much of Mogwai's catalogue, the tracks here are mostly instrumentals, and even on the few with vocals, the lyrics receive no more weight in the mix than any other element.
Standouts include "Summer", in which a centre section of feverish, high-speed drumming and paint-peeling guitar blurs is book-ended by aslow build-up and fadeout of atmospheric pop, punctuated intermittently by grinding bursts of noise; "New Paths to Helicon PT. 1", a languorous instrumental with the odd loud bit and the most subtle, minute-long fade this side of classicalmusic ("New PathsaPT. 2" is an abbreviated version of "PT. 1"); and "End", which suggests "New PathsaPT. 2" played backwards and with its shiny bits toned down, though oddly affecting nonetheless.