By Will Hermes
Updated March 06, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

With rock aesthetics swinging back toward the basics, it’d be easy to write off Mogwai, the arty Scots, who make the sort of proggy, slo-mo, mostly instrumental music once pretentiously dubbed ”post-rock.” Easy but, well, dumb. Their latest, Mr. Beast, punches up their usual handsome melodies and unusual textures with piano and buckets of majestic guitar noise, like Sigur Rós on steroids. Proof that smart music can be fierce, too.