The Mekons have never been shy about showing their influences, nor of mixing potent cocktails out of various musical ingredients. I have to admit that I haven't always been wild about the results. However, on "The Curse of the Mekons" and "Rock and Roll", the band came up with its most successful blends to date, mixing rock and roll sensibility with a variety of traditional influences. But it's not the blurring of genre lines which makes these two albums such lasting treasures, it's the totality of the performance. For once (or twice, rather) all of the trademark Mekons ingredients gel and voila, the world is gifted with two brilliant albums featuring great songwriting, wonderful use of fiddle and other "non-rock" instrumentation, and And AND Sally Timms' heavenly vocals.
Which is what makes it such a crying shame that copies of the band's two classic albums only occasionally wind up on the racks of America's record stores. Problems with the label they were on at the time (A&M?) and its lackluster support for the band mean that unless one is extremely fortunate, import orders are generally the only way to obtain these albums in the USA.
Do yourself a favor, though, and don't settle for what's currently available in the domestic catalog. Spend the extra couple of bucks for the import of "Curse.." or "Rock and Roll" and treat yourself to the band's best work.