Although members of Mekons — particularly singer-guitarist Jon Langford — occasionally come through town with various projects, it’s rare that the entire English collective assemble locally for a proper show. Recorded in Yucca Valley, Deserted, the group’s new album on Bloodshot Records, is a typically eclectic compendium of restrained alt-rock musings, laid-back balladry, violin-streaked country waltzes and Mojave-stranded sea chanteys. There are few hints of Mekons’ early punk roots, and references to Tony Blair and George Bush on the somnolent soundscape “In the Desert” feel more curiously quaint than timely or radical, but sun-baked oddities “Mirage” and “Weimar Vending Machine” have their demented moments. The group are at their most endearing on “After the Rain,” a seemingly straightforward country-pop idyll that expands into new-music experimentation via Susie Honeyman’s languorously unfolding tendrils of violin.
Mekons (Paul Beatty)