Monday, 3 October 2011
Mekons – Ancient & Modern 1911-2011 (Westpark)
Back in the old days when I was a sallow spotty-faced youth, with a disheveled mop of greasy spikes and a black leather jacket, I assumed, quite logically, that if you read NME and enjoyed indie, post-punk, alternative music, etc., then chances are you’d have a couple of Mekons albums in your ever expanding record rack. After several hundred conversations I discovered that wasn’t the case at all. Though nearly everyone of that persuasion had heard of the Mekons, hardly any of them had actually heard their music. Fewer still had bought a record. Needless to say, after that painful realization, I had to go and have a little lie down.
When I got up, they were still making records, though Jon Langford had a dozen side projects on the go and Sally Timms was a proper solo artist, as well as a Mekon… and still the records kept on coming, including a few bona fide classics along the way. In fact, 1985’s “Fear And Whisky” has since been credited with inventing alt. country, which must have been nice. Their latest, the 26th long player of their 35-year career, isn’t quite up there with their best, but it’s still a damnably fine collection of unkempt guitar pop. The subject matter, humans and their unnerving ability to fuck things up, is effortlessly distilled and condensed by Langford and his merry troupe into rollicking rock ‘n’ roll tunes, together with the odd ballad. The best of these, “Space In Your Face”, young Sal’s cabaret turn on “Geeshie” and the irresistible “Honey Bear” are up there with their good stuff. Go on, break the habit of a lifetime and buy a Mekons album. You know you want to, and they probably wouldn’t mind, either.