It's a mystery that deepens every few years. In a career devoid of duffers, how have Mogwai not made the shortlist for the Mercury Music Prize yet? As no fuss talents who don't take the business too seriously (read their merciless Pitchforkesque review of this record on their own website) maybe they've never asked themselves that question, but 'The Hawk is Howling' deserves the audience outside the converted that such exposure can bring.

After the soundtrack for the 'Zidane' film, they've decided to continue with no-vocals (once again), resulting in an album with the same widescreen magic and lights-out allure as its predecessor and, like it, deserving to be listened to as a complete piece, not tracks.

The instrument pummelling/caressing is as expertly judged as ever and with it comes the strange sensation of their poppiest creation to date, 'The Sun Smells Too Loud'. You can hum it; your mouth may be wide open at the rest.

Harry Guerin