Jon Langford and Skull Orchard: Old Devils (Bloodshot/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Jon Langford and Skull Orchard: Book of Your Life
Jon Langford and Skull Orchard: Old Devils (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Langford was in the UK punk-era Mekons way back but has in more recent times embraced a kind of folk-punk Americana and played with the likes of Ryan Adams and Alejandro Escovedo.

Chicago-based, he's also a well-known artist (lots of covers for the Chicago label Bloodshot).

With Skull Orchard he parlays a rough-edged country-rock with a punk/Clash urgency -- but although he has a way with an interesting lyric (sort of life among the ruins, quasi-autobiographical snapshots) it's hard to make a case for this one over the long haul.

There are no surprises in the chord progressions and for all its economy, narrative qualities and so on, there are so many others in this field who are doing more innovative work.

Andre Williams guests on the pirate tale Pieces of the Past, and the quietly gripping Death Valley Day is the standout.

Oddly enough, given his background, it is the slower material like Death Valley Day (Book of Your Life, Luxury, Haunted with its warm horns, the Spanish-influenced title track) where he makes an impression.

So, uneven -- but when he digs deep into a literate country-rock ballad he can really take you to a place. 


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Malcolm Middleton: A Brighter Beat (POD/Rhythmethod)

Malcolm Middleton: A Brighter Beat (POD/Rhythmethod)

If there was a band name attached to this rather than Middleton's you'd be talking a Scottish supergroup. The line-up of players includes members of Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, Reindeer Section... > Read more

One Man Bannister: Moth (Powertool)

One Man Bannister: Moth (Powertool)

Auckland singer-songwriter and sometime member of Don McGlashan's band Matthew Bannister made some of the most charming, slightly unnerving and genuinely lovely music with his Flying Nun bands... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

VOLUME SOUTH AT MIT (2018): The songs and stories from the streets

VOLUME SOUTH AT MIT (2018): The songs and stories from the streets

The Volume: Making Music in Aotearoa exhibition -- seven decades of New Zealand popular music -- which ran at the Auckland museum from late 2016 to May 2017 was an extraordinary success.... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . JEANNE DECKERS: From heaven to oblivion on the wings of a song

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . JEANNE DECKERS: From heaven to oblivion on the wings of a song

When the virginal singer Jeanne Deckers – sometimes Jeannine -- enjoyed a sudden hit in the early Sixties it was clear to anyone outside her circle that her career could only go one of two... > Read more