Full disclosure, I love The Mekons. I always have. Existentialism opens with a track that would be fully at home and welcomed on a PiL album with its driving bass line and echo infused vocals. Even the vocals on Flowers of Evil, Pt. 2 are reminiscent of John Lydon. As the track builds and builds adding in handclaps, violin, what sounds like a trumpet and keyboard, it has you banging your head and tapping your feet.
Skintrade returns to the Mekons tried and true method of mashing folk, country and rock with a group wide vocal effort. It’s swashbuckling in it’s approach and feels like it could disintegrate at any moment before clinging onto chaotic perfection.
The album shows a band full of ideas and songwriting brilliance. The third song O Money brings in some woodwind instruments (I think, you never actually know with Mekons as they are multi instrumental) and some choral backing vocals – again, there is a hint of a sea shanty, a folk song all held together by the drums and bass. I had the great experience of seeing The Mekons earlier this year in a sold out New York gig where they delivered a set full of confidence and humor. One of the highlights of that gig was the interplay between the male and female lead vocals with the assortment of instruments and Bucket is the first song on the new album to bring the female vocals to the fore in a Eastern European Gypsy folk song – I defy you not sway along to this one.
If punk rock is about attitude, experimentation, art, continually evolving and challenging the status quo then The Mekons are as punk as it gets. Seek out this album, seek out the documentary and seek them out live – you will not be disappointed ….get it herehttps://www.bloodshotrecords.com/artist/mekons