Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[M]any of these sessions trump the original album versions, making it a fine starting point for the 'Gwai novice and the avid collector alike."
Although Mogwai's GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONS consists entirely of live-in-studio recordings, the collection also functions as an excellent retrospective for the Scottish post-rock band. With its non-chronological sequence of tracks from 1996-2003, the album reveals how remarkably consistent the group has remained while exploring various extremes of melody and noise. Bookended by two compositions from 2003's HAPPY SONGS FOR HAPPY PEOPLE (the futuristic lullaby "Hunted By a Freak" and the slowly building "Stop Coming to My House"), GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONS ranges from surprisingly serene tunes (a hushed rendition of "Cody") to all-out guitar assaults (the downright frightening 18-minute "Like Herod"). The BBC studio setting also works to Mogwai's advantage, since listeners get the benefit of the band's formidable live performances without bad concert sound or distracting crowd banter. Fittingly, the album is dedicated to the late John Peel, the revered British DJ who was an early champion of the group.
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