I’m a big believer that the right album finds you at the right time, and that’s not just a sneaky way of excusing yourself for not being on-trend. I know about The Mekons – because I know about Jon Langford. But, oddly, given I love not just his art and activism but his music too – and in fact especially – I’ve never really listened to the Mekons; never hunted them out. So I knew about this album – but had neither avoided it nor sought it out.
Perhaps, this year and in recent years a type of ‘Fear’ and a brand (or two) of ‘Whiskey’ have been key drivers for me. But that’s not the (only) reason I now find myself hooked on this album from the mid-1980s; this album from a sprawling art-meets-punk collective.
It’s beer-soaked and glorious, seemingly tossed together on the spot and worked on for months. It’s full of magical tunes and great performance – just check out the opener, Chivalry – if you never have previously.
It’s been a big and busy year and many of my favourite “new” tunes, “new” albums, “new” artists have been things that have been around for 30-50 years. I like that. And I certainly count Fear and Whiskey by The Mekons among my favourite albums of 2018. Some things just take a while to find you, or for you to find them. I’m glad I waited. Even more thrilled it waited for me.