Jon Langford and his Sadies Mayors Of The Moon

As a European forever in search of replicating an authentic North American sound, Mekons/Waco Brothers leader Langford has undoubtedly been chomping at the bit to make this record ever since he signed the Sadies to his Bloodshot label five years ago. As we Canadians already know, our beloved Sadies have been redefining country-rock ever since, so Langford takes full advantage of finally bridging the Trans-Atlantic gap in a completely different way than with the sometimes redundant Wacos. In keeping with Sadies' tradition, the performances are raw, although augmented by pedal steel courtesy of Bob Egan, and vibes by Paul Aucoin. Yet the real focus is on how Langford tailors his songs to the band, and what becomes a sonically unintentional tribute to Joe Strummer, as one rough-cut garage-country gem flows into another. Langford's usual complicated take on Americana ties it all together, from the opener "Drugstore," which evokes a vanished time and place, to the postmodern gunfighter ballad, "Last King Of The Road." And although the Sadies sometimes fall back on familiar themes - the Johnny Cash chug of "Solitaire Song" - their best moment comes on "Shipwreck," a Langford duet with Sally Timms that strongly echoes the ethereal qualities of the Velvet Underground's "Ocean." While Mayors Of The Moon may not be another Mermaid Avenue, it's much more realised than it potentially could have been. Hopefully both parties feel it's worth it to try doing it again. (Bloodshot)