Look everyone, it's Mekons, but now with brand new material! The inventive Leeds punk / post-punk group went to Joshua Tree in California in order to record Deserted (it's a desert, geddit?), but managed to avoid absorbing too much of the ghost of U2 into their sound. It’s brand new Mekons guys, what more do I need to say? On Glitterbeat.
Vinyl LP £14.87 GBLP069
LP on Glitterbeat.
CD £9.49 GBCD069
CD on Glitterbeat.
When this review dropped onto my desk, I thought ‘Oh no, it’s that sludge metal band with that bloke with the big hair’ but upon further investigation I was thinking of Melvins not Mekons (it’s this kind of quality control you can rely on Norman Records for). Anyway. I digress. Mekons (for those unaware) are a Leeds-based experimental, post-punk group that follow other classic post-punk groups like The Pop Group and PIL by interacting with genres like country, dub, and jazz.
I like this album, it’s awash with varying genres and styles but never loses any continuity or flow. There’s plenty of energy, with bare-bones guitar, drums, and bass that underpin the other more experimental elements. Initially I was worrying about just how bare-bones this record was going to be, upon listening to the first couple of tracks I was struck by the similarities to The Fall, but Mekons really hit their stride with third track ‘In the Sun / The Galaxy Explodes’. It’s got superb chanted vocals, spiky guitar lines, and a nice rhythm that flirts with dub. ‘In The Desert’ is the best track on the album. It’s grandiose but in a good way, chockablock with bassy synths, clucking marimbas, shoegazey vocals, and another lovely crackly, dubby rhythm. ‘Mirage’ is another banger, sounding a bit like something off ‘Metal Box’ or ‘Hex Enduction Hour’. I love it when Mekons dispense with the pure post-punk and really get weird, like on the strange, Scott Walker-y showtune vibe of ‘Weimar Vending Machine / Priest?’ or the befuddled wooziness of ‘How Many Stars’. Mekons also make some really sweet, beautiful music, as both ‘In The Desert’ and ‘After The Rain’ can testify. With Deserted, the Leeds group continue to justify their place in post-punk’s holy canon.
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