Mekons New York, On The Road 86-87

ROIR continues to re-release its previously cassette-only catalogue on CD. The original 1987 release has been augmented with a pair of bonus tracks - including a version of their infamous "Never Been In A Riot" - bringing it up to 29. It's sort of an audio documentary of the band's June '86 and April/May '87 U.S. tours, with snippets of between song patter, travelogue narration, karaoke sing-alongs, and other bits of sonic tomfoolery interspersed between the songs. The music is Langford and Co.'s usual blend of punk and country, sprinkled with the odd polka or Celtic influence along with whatever the hell else happened to strike their fancy at the time. It's typically raucous, sloppy and passionate: thoroughly imbued with an inebriated, "what the fuck" attitude and a simultaneously 100 percent sincere, "heart on the sleeve" earnestness. That seeming contradiction is epitomised by their ragged but right take on the Band's "The Shape I'm In." The sound is a bit dodgy, but is entirely appropriate. The whole of these many disparate parts is vastly larger and more successful than their sum. (ROIR)