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Journey to the End of the Night
     

Journey to the End of the Night

by The Mekons
 
"Only Darkness Has the Power" goes the title to a classic '80s Mekons anthem. Years later, the Mekons greet the millennium by returning to darkness with JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT. On 12 songs that shift scenes from Italy to London to New York, the band explores the underbelly of the night, bolstered by the glorious hybrid of folk-pop, country, and reggae they

Overview

"Only Darkness Has the Power" goes the title to a classic '80s Mekons anthem. Years later, the Mekons greet the millennium by returning to darkness with JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT. On 12 songs that shift scenes from Italy to London to New York, the band explores the underbelly of the night, bolstered by the glorious hybrid of folk-pop, country, and reggae they crystallized on SO GOOD IT HURTS. When the band blends these and other styles at the same time -- as on the country-dub of "Tina," the gospel-tinged one drop of "Cast No Shadows," and the hilarious and poignant love-letter shuffle of "Neglect" -- it's a wondrous thing to hear. All the musical interplay is augmented with politically-charged lines like "The system is sick, the robber barons roam/Collecting their debts and filling up death row," on the bouyant fiddle-fed skank of "Last Night on Earth." (No matter how many musical mutations the band evolves through, you can always count on the Mekons to crap all over the Evil Empire.) What's most remarkable about JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT, however, is the quality of the melodies and textures here. With lush harmonies wrapping around the voices of Sally Timms, Jon Langford, and even the frog-piped Tom Greenhalgh, the band delivers poignant, cohesive melodies. In other words, JOURNEY is a bleary, beery, singable voyage. Mekons fans wouldn't have it any other way.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Nathan Bush
The Mekons have always thrived on musical contradiction, reveling in their clashes instead of diluting their collective influences, realizing that it's less interesting to play it safe. However, there is little evidence of this inclination on Journey to the End of the Night, perhaps their most straightforward album. Long-time fans looking for the fire of their most impassioned music may be suspicious: for once the Mekons sound like a band getting older, but this isn't a bad thing. On Journey, they avoid the sort of jarring juxtapositions that made previous collections more difficult to digest, but they don't stick to a uniform sound; instead, "Tina"'s light reggae rhythms, chugging guitar line, and melodica coexist peacefully with the low-budget electro of "The Flood." The more reserved songcraft results in one of the group's most sensitive sets of songs. "Ordinary Night" effectively communicates a touching story of love fumbled by a familiar, tragic character in two verses. The duet "Last Weeks of the War" uses truly ominous language in its tale of a broken relationship: "Little black book/Full of little white lies/The straightjacket has arrived/I'll try it on for size," Jon Langford sings, while Timms is both strong and sympathetic ("I'm not ruined but I need repair"). On Journey to the End of the Night, the Mekons have crafted a collection of rich, musically agreeable settings for sympathetic character sketches like these.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/07/2000
Label:
Quarter Stick
UPC:
0036172006021
catalogNumber:
60
Rank:
271688

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