Devil's Rats & Piggies
Label: Quarterstick Records
Dark and dense, the Mekons' second LP is only marginally more accomplished than its predecessor, musically speaking, but it's light-years ahead in terms of ambition. Jah Wobble-inspired basslines weave around simple beats that fade in and out or sometimes stop altogether, while disturbing keyboards infect everything around them. Meanwhile, characters who are smart enough to articulate their misery, but incapable of doing much about it, tell their lonely stories. "Institution" makes going crazy sound like the only reasonable response -- and a lot of fun.