Mogwai: ‘Teenage Exorcists’ Music Video Review

After releasing Rave Tapes earlier this year, Mogwai, the Scottish instrumental post-rock group, recently announced an upcoming EP called Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1. The always-eccentric rockers will be releasing their new EP on December 1, and they recently shared their new single, “Teenage Exorcists,” as well as an accompanying music video. Teaming up for the video is Craig Murray, an avant-garde director, and the two are an imaginative match.

Beginning with a floating orb and a bandaged woman in a null, blank space, the sonic landscape builds until the first drumbeat catapults the imagery. A bizarre, corkscrew-shaped, icy arm drills into her brain, creating a hole into her luminous mind. From there, the video propels into this vortex that pulls into it glimpses of cell-like figures and outer-space imagery. It borders on gorgeous and grotesque. Everything is rather vague and oblique, yet stunning and full of textures. At one point, it looks as if you are falling into a deep cave or through the woman’s head. The ambiguity keeps the video rich and alluring.

In fact, the video wonderfully coincides and compliments the theme of “Teenage Exorcists.” The unrelenting three minutes are exuded by grungy guitar work, driving drums, and synths that are as trippy as a Stanley Kubrick film. The expansive video beautifully captures its vast and limitless nature. Also, what is an oddity for Mogwai is the inclusion of lyrics. On previous releases, they’ve included spoken word tracks or found recordings, but they are always very careful when it comes to including actual lyrics. The chorus repeats, “It’s undone and uncertain / An apology accepted.” The lyrics give only a marginal insight into the meaning of the song, but that keeps it from particulars and withholds it from having any solid grounding. The song is as dense and complicated as its visual component.

At one point, the floating orb becomes absorbed into the woman’s head, which creates a surreal and angelic image. At the same time of appearing God-like, however, she also appears rather demonic. It’s this special juxtaposition that is romantic, yet fatal. Nearing the end, the video becomes even more evasive as the bandaged woman falls back into this transparent mold that resembles cellophane and it cases her in. Although she appears to be suffocating and encapsulated, she appears rather at ease and free of emotion. Molded faces shatter around her, which points towards a loss of identity, death, or a transformation. Mogwai, with the twisted and striking direction of Craig Murray, have created a spectacular beast of a music video that gives some visual depth to their massive, twenty-year collection.