For some, the Mekons have attained cult status. For the rest of us, England's most eclectic post-punk unit is confounding and has been since its formation in Leeds in the late 1970s. Gutter punk, honky-tonk, acid-folk or power pop, the band, whose constantly changing lineup revolves around its two steadfast founders, Jon Langford and Tom Greenhaigh, has tried it all. When it works, the group succeeds gloriously (Fear and Whiskey, The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll). When it fails well, let's just say embalming sessions would be more enjoyable.
That said, the band's recently released Journey to the End of the Night (Quarterstick Records) grows on you after several hundred spins. The dirgelike tunes "Myth" and "Ordinary Night" are flat and uninspiring. But the elegant desperation that cloaks the record is put to wonderful effect on "Last Weeks of the War" and "City of London," the latter accentuated by Sally Timms's singing and Suzie Honeyman's violin work. The Mekons are out to create sonic moods here.
Whether providing the soundtrack to quiet, late-night trainspotting, as on the record's best track, "The Flood," or closing-time barroom ramblings, as on "Powers & Horror," the Mekons' vision is unique all the way through. Drawing from a merry-go-round of genres, the band delivers a little something for everybody. -- Bob Ruggiero
The Mekons perform Wednesday, March 15, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8. Johnny Dowd opens. For more information, call (713)521-0521.
Enon -- When underground acts add new colors, such as beats and electronica, to their indie rock palettes, too often they let irony and posing get in the way. Such is not the case with Enon, a group that merges the scrape-and-burn production of trip-hop with lo-fi. It's important that the band features John Schmersal of Brainiac and Rick Lee and Steve Calhoon of Skeleton Key. Brainiac's hyperkinetic new-wave-cum-punk was one of the most original things to bubble up in rock this decade, and Enon maintains that off-kilter approach. (Skeleton Key, on the other hand, was subtle and sparse with its boho alt-rock, though Lee provided some rawness by playing percussion on assorted junk, such as fire extinguishers and pots and pans.)
Intellectual rock pedigrees notwithstanding, Enon's debut, Believo, doesn't lack hooks. Produced by Dave Sardy (Helmet, Dandy Warhols), the record is an unselfconscious blend of guitars, samplers, keyboards and drum loops. At times the band comes off as funky, at other times spooky, but it rarely misses its target. Enon performs Tuesday, March 14, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh, opening for New Wet Kojack. For more information, call (713)521-0521. (David Simutis)
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