Pop-Cult Dropouts

With decades of punk-rooted, political mayhem-making behind them, anything the Mekons do is interesting, since it means they're still alive and kicking -- a wonder in itself. Well, this former art-student pack is now poking fun, kicking back, lightening up and, whether they like it or not, getting older. We already know -- or still remember -- what living on Slimfast, three-way mirrors and '70s porn does to people. So no revelations on this album -- only that the Mekons have obviously been stewing in some kind of culture critic's retro hell for the past few years, at least since they collaborated with writer Kathy Acker on the album Pussy, King of the Pirates. The profane pop is okay, but it seems about a light year late and a punch line short of being a real joke -- or of having a point of reference. The four-letter-word lyrics, which I'll spare you for now, are everything you can imagine. But you'll wonder which sounds more profane in the Mekons' context: the word "fuck" or "software."

Musically speaking, Me is glossy, electronically up-to-date easy listening -- and it features guest vocalist Rebecca Gates of the Spinanes -- yet thorny and out-of-touch in its attack on consumer culture. I mean, where have these guys been? We turned that self-loathing for our excesses stuff into a new commodity a long time ago.

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