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THE MEKONS 77 – ‘It Is Twice Blessed’ Album Review

THE MEKONS 77 – It Is Twice Blessed

Mekons 77Formed in the late 1970s as an art collective, The Mekons are one of the longest-running and most prolific of the first-wave British punk rock bands. The documentary, The Revenge Of The Mekons is well worth getting a hold of – check it out here: http://www.mekonsmovie.com/Revenge_of_the_Mekons/BUY_DVD.html

Since those early days, the band have experienced several changes in line-up, and although the current line-up of “Mekons” are writing and recording music, playing shows and touring, the original “The Mekons 77” have reunited and are playing live shows for a limited time.

The new album, It Is Twice Blessed contains twelve tracks full of raw energy, creativity and some exciting songwriting. Opening with the Fall-esque Healey Wavin’ it feels as though I am transported back to those heady days of the first wave of punk. With angular guitars, pounding drums and dualing vocals, the song is a fresh as can be. The extended guitar solo brings the song to a close and Mechanic Wanted starts with some softly strummed guitars with plaintive vocals. The song has some humorous lyrics (a sense of humour is a Mekons trait even today) and a punk/country/folk vibe as the ballad progresses.

On In The Red, the urgent spoken/sung vocals mix with an eclectic beat, group backing vocals and an overall feeling of desperation and chaos. The Mekons 77 have a more raw sound than today’s Mekons…reminding me of Joy Division, Wire, Magazine and, well I have to say it, the original Mekons!!! The band have always intrigued as their approach feels raw yet sophisticated, chaotic yet controlled, familiar yet new. The excellent Not In My Name with a reggae feel, mellow vibe and the laid back vocal treatment is innovative as the story unfolds for over four minutes.

The Mekons 77 have managed to capture all of that original freshness and uniqueness as they do on the discordant Borders with many vocal contributions whilst I Took Me Down To The River returns to a vaguely reggae style to support some crazy lyrics!

50,000 Things ups the pace slightly with some pointed lyrics on income inequality and British life in general. The song juxtaposes some serious points with some humour. Stuck In A Static In Camber sounds more like Future of The Left than the Sex Pistols and that has always been the appeal of the Mekons….they showcase art-rock credentials wrapped in a punk rock attitude.

Throughout this album, the band capture a raw energy that has a DIY vibe. The extended guitar intro to Bug Out Time leads to staccato group vocals and some weird sections indeed and it is followed with You Lied To Us with its discordant rhythmic approach.

The penultimate track, Still Waiting plays a number of vocal treatments together and mixes lyrics of protest with some that are a little more absurd – I really enjoyed it.  Closing with Evenin’ All the Mekons 77 channel The Sleaford Mods with northern vocals and an acoustic guitar for company. The band sound as innovative as they did over 40 years ago and just as much fun – welcome back!

Grab the excellent It Is Twice Blessed by The Mekons 77 here: https://www.themekons.co.uk/shop/it-is-twice-blessed-vinyl-lp

 

 

 

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