Government Commissions BBC Sessions 1996 -2003
Mogwai has sustained a long-lasting career that’s now approaching legendary status, all the while playing mostly instrumental music that many would label — gasp! — difficult. And according to them, they’ve done it without putting their best foot forward. Until now, that is. Government Commissions is a collection of BBC performances, engineered by Steve Lamacq and the late John Peel. In sessions that span eight years, the band performed many of their more popular album cuts, and while the songs themselves aren’t very different, there’s a certain airiness that shines through. ‘Haunted by a Freak’ gets things started with its laid-back, bass-driven groove, and is followed by an instrumental version of ‘R U Still in 2 It’ from the band’s brilliant debut. The disc’s highlight is the slightly rowdy version of ‘Like Herod’, which carries on for over 18 minutes, without inducing sleep. If there’s a complaint to be made, it’s that the sequencing isn’t chronological. As it is, jumping back and forth from year to year, you have to pay attention if you want to chart the band’s growth. But if you do, you will not be disappointed.