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

The Checks: Alice By The Moon (Pie Club)

The Checks: Alice By The Moon (Pie Club)

If this was "the difficult second album" for local rock'n'roll darlings The Checks it certainly doesn't sound it: it struts with well placed self-assurance and if in places the song-craft... > Read more

The Veils: Time Stays, We Go (Rough Trade)

The Veils: Time Stays, We Go (Rough Trade)

For my money Finn Andrews of the Veils wrote one the finest songs of the past five years with the exceptional Us Godless Teenagers on the 2011 EP Trouble of the Brain. An insightful song of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Neil Finn and Jim Carter: Blue Smoke (2015)

Neil Finn and Jim Carter: Blue Smoke (2015)

When the recording of Blue Smoke by the Ruru Karaitiana Quintette was released in February 1949, the Second World War had only been over for around three and half years. The memories of loved... > Read more

JOEY DeFRANCESCO INTERVIEWED (2013): Always going to be this way

JOEY DeFRANCESCO INTERVIEWED (2013): Always going to be this way

At his home in Phoenix, you might guess Joey DeFrancesco has a very large and crowded trophy room. For six years from 2003 – when he was just 32 – he topped the Downbeat poll as the... > Read more