Jon Langford & Skull Orchard Old Devils

Jon Langford & Skull Orchard Old Devils
Punk/roots music veteran Langford is certainly prolific, putting out records with the beloved Mekons, Waco Brothers, Pine Valley Cosmonauts and the Sadies. He's dubbed his latest band of brothers Skull Orchard and they include members of the Wacos, Jim Elkington (the Zincs) and Mekon Sally Timms. She adds guest vocals to three cuts, while R&B maverick Andre Williams sings on a couple of others. With this line-up, it's not surprising Langford isn't breaking new ground here, dishing up his familiar blend of punk, folk and country styles. However, it remains a potent combination, driven by his gruff vocals and populist songs. There's a bleak mood to much of the material, but the colourful pirate saga of "Pieces of the Past" is more lively ("so raise your glasses and open your throat, death runs silent in an open boat"). The metaphor of "Book of Your Life" is a mite banal, but there are enough winning tunes to keep Langford's faithful following happy. (Bloodshot)