CD Natural [The Mekons] (CD 1148142), Audio Other
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Natural [The Mekons]

  • 1. Dark Dark Dark
    2. Dickie Chalkie and Nobby
    3. Old Fox, The
    4. White Stone Door
    5. Shocking Curse Bird
    6. Give Me Wine or Money
    7. Diamonds
    8. Burning in the Desert Burning
    9. Hope and the Anchor, The
    10. Cockermouth
    11. Zeroes and Ones
    12. Perfect Mirror
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 98

  • Credits

    Audio Mixer: Ian Caple.
    Recording information: Brackenrigg, Lake District.
    Authors: Kevin Padian; H.L. Mencken; Stanley Spencer.
    The story behind NATURAL, the Mekons' umpteenth studio outing, is that the Leeds octet wanted to do something special for their 30th anniversary, so they hit the countryside of their native England and unplugged. While NATURAL has a back-to-the-land charm throughout its 12 mostly acoustic tracks, no one could accuse the band of going hippie. In the case of the Mekons, the campfire just provided another arena for their stumbling musings on drunken desperation and modern isolation. While the move on the surface runs somewhat antithetically to their punk roots, the Mekons were never that comfortable in the pantheon of British punk either. Twenty-two years after they arguably invented alt-country on FEAR AND WHISKEY, NATURAL may be the first time that their rootsy leanings were truly given a chance to breathe.
    Despite the crippling loneliness of leadman Jon Langford's legendary warble, there's a group elation to these tracks similar to that of, say, Springsteen's THE SEEGER SESSIONS, as evidenced on tracks such as "Give Me Wine or Money" and "Shocking Curse Bird." Their's also a palpable sense of relief and pride among these blokes that they--out of all their class of '77 contemporaries--were the ones who lasted 30 years. The confidence is well earned, as NATURAL finds Langford and Co. at the top of their game with perhaps their best song cycle since I LOVE MEKONS. If NATURAL is any indication, however, there's a lot left in the Mekons' collective tank, and as they themselves chanted on the celebratory "Diamonds": "The reason for the voyage hasn't been forgot/the trail's not cold/the coals are hot." Hot indeed.

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (p.92) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[R]eplete with chants, harmonicas...[and] found percussion....[With a] ramshackle, ritualistic, druids-at-Stonehenge mood..."
    Spin (p.134) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[They] are at their red-eyed best here, skirting the edges of chaos on ragged-but-right tunes like the harmonica-fueled tall tale 'The Old Fox'..."
    Q (p.101) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]heir new album is a twisted country-folk collection of pagan fertility songs....Far-out stuff indeed, but very listenable."
    Uncut (p.87) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Now they're an accomplished country band, inspirational to the likes of Will Oldham....[Certain songs] remind you that while fashions change, it's bands of character that endure."
    Magnet (p.102) - "It's full of loose sing-alongs, drunken chants and spooky ballads....We may be going to hell, but with the Mekons to guide us, we'll enjoy the ride."
    Dirty Linen (p.41) - "Mostly, this album has a late 1960s feel with multi-layered acoustic guitars, unpretentious but opaque lyrics, trippy melodies, and laid-back execution."
    No Depression (p.97) - "This band's brand of folk reggae, dusty ambiance and call-and-response exotica rarely carries any pretense....NATURAL is lit with mystery, but the fun is unwrapping its layers."
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