Les Revenants is a French supernatural drama that is set in a small French town in the mountains where previous inhabitants have returned from the dead. Les Revenants (The Returned) has a sombre mood, an intriguing plot and Mogwai have made a perfect soundtrack creating a sense of unease that permeates the series but at the same time there is a suffusive warmth that inhabits the confused relatives and the returned people. Ex lovers, children, mothers and brothers returning, creating fear and relief, jealousy as some loved ones return and others don’t and uncontrollable emotion in the wake of a child being returned to his or her family.
The soundtrack maintains its somnambulistic atmosphere with soft keyboard sounds, low bass and effected guitars, sometimes with tremolo, sometimes with fuzz, but always keeping the mood intact. It’s not the usual Post Rock Mogwai with slow burning passages and exploding dynamics, it’s a project that is deeply considered and limitation has helped Mogwai sculpt a soundtrack in keeping with the plot, the characters and the strange goings on.
One track, What Are They Doing In Heaven Today has vocals, a downtempo ironic country drawl that might easily get a response with all these talkative and approachable dead people walking around the place.
This is the second French project that Mogwai have been involved in – the first was, Zidane: A 21st Century portrait, filmed in real time at a match between Real Madrid and Villa Real, 17 cameras followed everything he did, went everywhere he went – until he was sent off. A fascinating piece of experimental film in the same area as Les Revenants.
This is an excellent moody and mature piece of work by these Scottish experimental instrumentalists and is highly recommended. You may want to follow the TV series too, it’s easy to stream on line or you could of course purchase it on DVD through Amazon, but make sure you buy the series and not the original film.