The Sun Smells Too Loud

Album: The Hawk is Howling (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • "The Sun Smells Too Loud" is the fifth track on the sixth studio album by Mogwai. Typical of Mogwai tunes, it's pure instrumental, is credited to the entire group, and runs a leisurely time of 6:58.

    Mogwai is a Scottish band from Glasgow, formed in 1995. Their style is frequently labeled "Post-Rock," similar to Talk Talk and Sigur Ros. We'll agree with that. However, you're excused if you listened to them and said "Shoegaze," "Math Rock," or just plain "Progressive Rock" too, since they have connections to those styles.
  • The name "Mogwai" comes from the 1984 Steven Spielberg film Gremlins. "Mogwai" are the cute, cuddly, Gizmo-form of the little beasties, before you feed them after midnight and they turn into the nastier, deadlier, title creatures. In the film, the first mogwai is bought from an old Chinese fellow in a curio shop; "mogwai" in Cantonese translates to "evil spirit." Now, after all that, Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite states that there's no special significance to the name - they meant to come up with a better one, but never did.
  • The title "The Sun Smells Too Loud" is evocative of the psychological disorder known as "synesthesia," in which a person senses stimulus in a cross-sensory way. A person with synesthesia might perceive the letter "V" as being "purple," or might associate the smell of fish with a train whistle, or might think that the taste of green beans feels scratchy, or other random sensory non sequitur.
  • The Hawk is Howling was the product of a failed commission. Bass guitarist Dominic Aitchison told Uncut magazine: "We'd been asked to do the music for a South American film and had been given a time frame of five days, so we pulled this music for it out of thin air. We were happy with what we produced, but they hated it and sacked us, so we reworked a lot of that music for The Hawk…. We had a brilliant time recording it and it's really good fun to play live, although its really dour and probably a little bit too one-note."

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