Friday, April 23, 2010

Don't Look Back #4: The Mekons - Fear and Whiskey

"I went out the other night / fear and whiskey kept me going / I swore somebody held me tight / but there's just no way of knowing"

Apart from continuously seeking refuge in alcohol and living with the fear of seeing your society slowly deteriorating, The Mekon's classic album Fear and Whiskey had a lot reason to be unsure of how it could possibly fit into the punk rock scene in 1985.  The band tirelessly struggled for one long week to create a working class hybrid of country music and post-punk that incorporates instruments not commonly seen in bare bones rock, such as the fiddle and the slide guitar.  Despite country's traditionally conservative leanings, Fear and Whiskey's central themes lie in individual isolation and the feeling of helplessness that arises when abuse of power and social injustice permeate our everyday lives.  These grim topics may not sound like the adequate material for making soaring drinking anthems but its spontaneity and complete embrace of failure is what propels this album to greatness.  The fragility of each song not only makes the album unpredictable, but also allows the listener to share in the melancholy triumph of knowing, that though everything we've struggled for might be taken from us, despair is not an impediment but rather a call to arms and camaraderie.

The Mekons - Hard To Be Human Again

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