Curse of the Mekons

Blast First, 1991

My first impression of this album was "of course, it's not as good as 'Rock & Roll', but then what is?" Their previous albums is still one of my favorites. However, the more I listen to this one the more I like it, and I'm no longer sure that it isn't as good as "Rock & Roll".

I'm tempted to call the Mekons cynical, but that's not quite true; cynicism implies a certain amount of resignation, and the Mekons are anything but resigned. They're unrepentant socialists who protest that "this funeral is for the wrong corpse", and condemn the involvement of British and American governments in international drug trade in the lovely "Brutal". They're bitter about the state of the music industry, but they clearly recognize that the same forces that make rock a vehicle for "moving product" also give their own music much of its power. Because their stateside label, A&M, decided not to release "Curse" domestically, it's only available from Blast First! in the UK.

The angry guitars here are tempered by mandolin, banjo, bagpipes and harmonica, but this is not folk-rock, except the waltz "Wild & Blue", one of the four songs featuring the wonderful Sally Timms on lead vox. The voices of Jon Langford and Tom Greenalgh suit the music but may be a bit of an acquired taste for those used to more - eh - polish.

In short, this is powerful, intelligent music that animates the stinking corpse of rock long enough for it to spit in the face of the doctors still checking it for vital signs.

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