Mekons Honky Tonkin'
Published Jan 01, 2006It has taken a long time to fully calculate the importance of the Mekons, the art-punk/country collective from Leeds, England. But just as American bands like the Gun Club and Uncle Tupelo were laying the foundation for the alt-country revolution, the Mekons were on a similar mission, but with a typically British edginess. This reissue of Honky Tonkin, their third album and first official Stateside release, captures them at an early peak in 1987 and remains a seminal recording, along with their debut, Fear & Whiskey. By this point, their mix of Cash and Clash (with a dash of the Pogues for good measure) was refined enough to take on their mythological America, which they would soon wholeheartedly embrace with a full-scale relocation to Chicago. Covers of "Sleepness Nights and "Sin City blend nicely with more locally-inspired fare like "Charlie Cake Park and "Trimdon Grange Explosion, both of which are also prime examples of trademark Leeds lefty politics first popularised by Gang of Four. While the album rings with an 80s artificiality, the Mekons passion and innovation undeniably shines through, especially on the still ass-kicking "Sympathy For The Mekons. One of the cornerstone early alt-country releases. (Quarterstick)