CYOA works simply, and starts things off by letting you know they're going to rock; the opening track rapidly descends into a scrub-fest worthy of Fugazi or Sonic Youth. That out of the way, they seem to feel less pressured, and the next few tracks clock in at over 10 minutes each. The formula is in full effect here, but CYOA skillfully manipulates predictability into anticipation. The hypnotic phrases that open the songs are good enough that the listener won't get bored, and when they start into the cacophonies, it's like firework detonations in slow motion, loud and beautiful.
"Exercises in Repetition" exhibits some of the digital tweaking that's defined Mogwai lately, and it's a hopeful glimpse of CYOA's maturity. A relatively short, static-y piano piece serves as a palate-cleanser before the last two tracks close out in familiar territory. The last song, "Stonerism," features the only vocals, some metaphysical mumbling that doesn't detract from the overall quality of the music, but reminds us that La Mancha is a first effort. Stoned or not, CYOA will leave you happily hovering.