Jon Langford & His Sadies / Jon Langford

The Mayors of the Moon

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This album, mixing the Mekons and Waco Brothers singer with the Sadies, is an interesting and engaging roots rock and country effort that gets off to a great start with "Drugstore." Rounded out by a definitive roots rock sound in the vein of Blue Rodeo or Gram Parsons, Jon Langford's Welsh lilt adds a lot to tracks like "Looking Out for Radio." The song is a slow, mournful dirge containing a Wilco flare to it courtesy of Bob Egan's pedal steel guitar. The title track also falls into this line of sound, with guitarists Dallas Good and Travis Good supplying a darker twang to the bridge. Perhaps the track that seems most of out place and character has to be the '60s boogie emanating through "American Pageant," closely resembling the Yardbyrds or Them. But the album returns to a slower country flavor on "Little Vampires," a song Mark Knopfler would be jealous of. When Langford opts for a honky tonk arrangement on "What Makes Johnny Run?" he sounds like he's missing the mark. The highlight of the album is "Strange Birds," a number that brings to mind traditional country music with contemporary overtones. The homestretch of the album contains some run-of-the-mill material, particularly the routine flow of "Last King of the Road" that runs out of gas well before its conclusion. "Shipwreck," which features vocals by Sally Timms, has an ethereal and psychedelic tone to it but is surprisingly good. Closing with the road-weary narrative "Are You an Entertainer?" the album is a definite keeper.

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