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Ancient and Modern

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iTunes Review

The album title is meant to suppose the difference between The Mekons’ acoustic and electric sides, their ability to take old-world music forms and make them relevant to their audience, which has always been an odd mix of punks, avant-garde aficionados, folk enthusiasts, and flat-out rock fans. “Warm Summer Sun” is the opening acoustic walk through the centuries, while “Space in Your Face” immediately brings the full band to a celebratory height. This push and pull between the joyous and forlorn has made The Mekons one of the most underrated and versatile groups of any era. “Geeshie” dips its toe into Tin Pan Alley. “I Fall Asleep” proudly re-creates the feeling of a woozy-boozy evening in the parlor. “Calling All Demons” crosses the blues with a touch of Roky Erickson psychedelia. Sally Timms evokes the eerie end of the line with “Ugly Bethesda,” while “The Devil at Rest” brings a modern production to meet with the group’s best ensemble-vocal cast.

Customer Reviews

a pretty good return to form

This may or may not be a concept album about the past and the present, but what really matters are the songs. And the Mekons at least half-way deliver. “Space in Your Face” and “Geeshie” would fit right in with their classic album “Curse of the Mekons” (and that’s high praise, for those not lucky enough to own it!). While the heart-felt “I Fall Asleep” and the epic title track are among the band’s best slower songs.

The only problem with “Ancient and Modern” is that on some of the tracks, like “Honey Bear”, the band lacks the go-for-broke intensity of their earlier days. And this leaves some of the album feeling a bit flat.

Overall, this is something of a return to the eclectic Mekons of old, and contains the best batch of songs they’ve written in 10 years. This is a must-have for fans of the band. Newcomers, though, might be advised to pick and choose individual tracks.


Genre: Alternative

More than any band that came out of late-'70s England, the Mekons (the name taken from the popular sci-fi comic Dan Dare) have perhaps the most devoted fans of any band even remotely connected to punk rock. And why not? Over the course of several decades, this band, with an ever-shifting lineup (only Jon Langford and Tom Greenhalgh remain from the original), produced some of the best rock & roll on the planet, be it amateurish rock-noise, cool synth-driven pop, guitar rave-ups, or postmodern country...
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Ancient and Modern, Mekons
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Customer Ratings