In short, this is powerful, intelligent music that animates the stinking corpse of rock long enough for it to spit in the face of the doctors still checking it for vital signs.
Of course the album was the most delicious indictments of the music industry since Elvis Costellos Radio Radio. But track for track this Nashvillian was the finest country artist of the '80s, and for a band that romanticized honky tonk to give him their all was a sure sign that they wanted more than rock 'n' roll, or alt-rock either. Its undoubtedly the most accessible and upbeat at least until you start listening to the lyrics album the band ever made.
Broken down, The Curse Of the Mekons begins to sound messy, and perhaps it is, from Funeral and "Blue Arse"'s punkish vitriol and Sorcerer's proto-dance convulsion to Authority's uncanny mix of metallic overdrive and gospel undertow and Brutal's bewitching acid cajun.
Such is the curse of the Mekons. They care about glasnost, the Berlin Wall, the fall of Soviet communism.
All across Alternative Nation Gen-X kids would have been hopping around chirping the chorus of Only Darkness Has the Power,o the screech of Susie Honeymans fiddle piercing the airwaves before we ever heard Kurt Cobains feedbacking guitar. Yep, the money would have rolled in and the self- disgust level of Greenhalgh, Langford and Timms would have reached dangerous highs.
Alt-rock was no bastion of optimism. That's why Langford carries so much weight when he reminds us that "this funeral is for the wrong corpse. Like all the Mekons' records Rock 'n' Roll is the exception , The Curse of the Mekons fleshes out their anarchist principles by abjuring power--it's messy, slightly inchoate, as unreconstructed and inconclusive as their nevertheless radical politics.
In the next cut Club Mekon Timms directly compares rock n roll with prostitution.
But anyone familiar with this divine gaggle of rag-tag underdog Brits, lunatic punks, honky-tonk heretics, noise-mongering visionaries, die-hard socialists and drunken louts realize that the curse of this band actually is one of their own making. Philosophically and personnelwise, the Mekons had no guitar god in them, and while they've always gone for a more '50s-rooted collective energy, Rock 'n' Roll was where that peaked for them.
Some Mekonian scholars believe the bands most creative period was in the late 80s and early 90s, a time in which The Mekons actually danced with the Great Satan of major labeldom. My advice is to destroy your safe and happy lives before it is too late.
It was so with Ahab; only that now, of late, he seemed so much to live in open air, that truly speaking, his visits were more to the cabin, then from the cabin to the planks. Still, this was a boom time for many former undergrounders, from old hands like Nirvana's rabbis Sonic Youth to relative newcomers like Perry Farrell, of Jane's Addiction and the soon-famed Lollapalooza Festival.
For the Mekons, however, it was like Nirvana never happened. I'm tempted to call the Mekons cynical, but that's not quite true; cynicism implies a certain amount of resignation, and the Mekons are anything but resigned. This is the curse of The Mekons... I feel Curse has got slightly more depth to it.
Well thats how The Mekons tell it. Said Greenhalgh of Rock 'n' Roll shortly after Curse appeared: Among sea-commanders, the old breybeards will oftenest leave their berths to visit the night-cloaked deck.