Life and times of the Mekons

Los Angeles Times - - MOVIES - — Katie Walsh

Punk and folk mu­sic don’t seem like the most in­tu­itive cou­pling, but for the lon­grun­ning band the Mekons, the com­bi­na­tion makes sense mu­si­cally and po­lit­i­cally.

Di­rec­tor Joe An­gio’s lov­ing trib­ute, “Re­venge of the Mekons,” ex­plores the cult band’s in­ex­pli­ca­ble longevity. A rag­tag bunch of rad­i­cal art stu­dents at the Univer­sity of Leeds in Eng­land, the Mekons came up in the late ’70s along­side Gang of Four, re­ly­ing on their at­ti­tude and ideals to dis­guise their lack of mu­si­cal prow­ess. But they evolved, adopt­ing tra­di­tional English folk and Amer­i­can coun­try mu­sic as in­flu­ences, skill­fully ar­tic­u­lat­ing the in­her­ent themes of work­ing-class strug­gle in the way only so­cial­ist Bri­tish punks could.

“Re­venge of the Mekons” ini­tially in­tro­duces us to the band now, dur­ing a record­ing ses­sion for its al­bum “An­cient & Mod­ern,” be­fore flash­ing back to de­tail its found­ing in the Bri­tish punk scene and even­tual jump to ma­jor la­bels.

Like many mu­sic docu- men­taries, this film suf­fers from the ten­dency to re­it­er­ate its point too of­ten. Nev­er­the­less, it as­serts that clearly the Mekons’ re­venge has been their con­tin­ued suc­cess, in mak­ing mu­sic with friends com­pletely on their own terms. “Re­venge of the Mekons.” No MPAA rat­ing. To­tal run­ning time: 1 hour 35 min­utes. Play­ing: Laemmle’s Play­house 7, Pasadena; also Mon­day at Laemmle’s NoHo 7, North Hol­ly­wood, and Tues­day at Laemmle’s Royal, West L.A.

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