Rock Action (album)

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Rock Action
Studio album by Mogwai
Released 30 April 2001
Recorded Tarbox Road Studios, Cassadaga, New York, USA, Sorcerer Sound Studios, New York, USA, Cava Studios, Glasgow, Scotland
Genre Post-rock
Length 38:31
Label Matador
Producer David Fridmann
Mogwai chronology
Come On Die Young
Rock Action
Happy Songs for Happy People
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 76/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Alternative Press 4/5[3]
The Boston Phoenix 3/4 stars[4]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[5]
NME 8/10[6]
Pitchfork Media 8.0/10[7]
Q 4/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[9]
Spin 8/10[10]

Rock Action is the third full-length studio album by Scottish post-rock band Mogwai.


Rock Action brought with it some changes to Mogwai's sound that they would continue to develop later, including the use of electronic instruments. While song structures on this album are typical of the band in most cases and respects, some of the contrasting dynamics have been toned down slightly and many of the songs focus more on texture than on structure. For the first time, Mogwai utilised synthesizers, expanding their timbral palette.

The single "Dial: Revenge" fills much the same role that "Cody" did on Come on Die Young,[not in citation given] featuring Welsh vocals from Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals.[11] When the inside cover is unfolded, part of the logo for Mwng, an album by Super Furry Animals released the previous year, can be seen. Gruff Rhys has said [12] of the song title "I think (Mogwai) were into me writing in Welsh, because they're an instrumental band and they wanted a singer who would be just sounds for most people. Back then, people were still using payphones. When you take a payphone off the hook, on the LCD screen it flashes 'DIAL'. But in Welsh, dial – pronounced 'dee-al' – means revenge. It puts you in a weird place when you're making a phone call. So the song was about that.".

The tone of Rock Action is somewhat less dark than previous works, but maintains Mogwai's cryptic cynicism.

The photographs that make up the artwork for the album were taken in a bar in Glasgow called Nice 'N' Sleazy.

The album was produced by Dave Fridmann of Mercury Rev in New York.[11]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Sine Wave"   4:55
2. "Take Me Somewhere Nice"   6:57
3. "O I Sleep"   0:55
4. "Dial: Revenge"   3:28
5. "You Don't Know Jesus"   8:02
6. "Robot Chant"   1:03
7. "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong"   9:31
8. "Secret Pint"   3:37
Total length: 38:31
Japanese version Bonus Tracks
  • "Untitled" - 7:16
  • "Close Encounters" – 3:54


Additional musicians[edit]

  • David Pajo - backing vocals on "Take Me Somewhere Nice"
  • Gruff Rhys - vocals on "Dial: Revenge", backing vocals on "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong"
  • The Remote Viewer - programming and banjo on "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong"
  • Willie Campbell, Charlie Clark, Gary Lightbody - backing vocals on "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong"
  • Michael Brawley - strings and horns on "Take Me Somewhere Nice" and "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong"
  • Dave Fridmann - strings and horns on "Dial: Revenge" and "Secret Pint"


  • Produced and mixed by Dave Fridmann
  • Recorded by Dave Fridmann and Tony Doogan
  • Recorded and mixed at Tarbox Road Studios, Cassadaga, NY
  • Additional recording at Cava Studios, Glasgow and Sorcerer Sound, NY
  • Assistant engineers: Willie Deans at Cava and Bill Racine at Sorcerer Sound
  • All songs written by Mogwai except "Dial: Revenge" by Mogwai/Gruff Rhys
  • Design and art by Vella Design
  • Photography by Steve Gullick


  1. ^ "Reviews for Rock Action by Mogwai". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  2. ^ Phares, Heather. "Rock Action – Mogwai". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "Mogwai: Rock Action". Alternative Press (155): 78. June 2001. 
  4. ^ Perry, Jonathan (17–23 May 2001). "Mogwai: Rock Action (Matador)". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "We will rock you". The Guardian. 27 April 2001. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  6. ^ Segal, Victoria. "Mogwai : Rock Action". NME. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  7. ^ LeMay, Matt (30 April 2001). "Mogwai: Rock Action". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "Mogwai: Rock Action". Q (176): 114. May 2001. 
  9. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 551. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  10. ^ Greenwald, Andy (May 2001). "Mogwai: Rock Action / Arab Strap: The Red Thread". Spin. 17 (5): 147. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Beaujon, Andrew (2001) "Mouth Almighty", SPIN, June 2001, retrieved 2010-04-17
  12. ^ Pattison, Louis (2011) "[1]", Guardian, February 2011, retrieved 2011-02-24