The Mekons: OOOH! (Out of Our Heads)
The Mekons were a band that I thought was like beer. I thought they were an acquired taste. What I didn’t realize was that I didn’t know enough about music and life to really understand what was going with a Mekons record. I may not still know fully what is being said on this album but I feel like I inhabit a world where there is room for the Mekons to not only be important but enjoyed as well.
Out of Our Heads is a subdued album by most standards but it beats with the resilience of a group of artists making mature music that is too complicated and honest to ever be heard on the radio. The Mekons adopt or usurp images from our shared religions, mythology and fairy tales. They live in a land full of “dangerous bibles,” where “seed of the devil lives on in men” and it’s an “endless winter.”
Don’t think these images are from a brooding album full of hopelessness. It’s not. This is a very hopeful album. An album that asserts the joys of secular spirituality. The celebration that is apparent in “Take his Name in Vain” is the focal point of this album for me. Perhaps religion is seen by them as “old familiar vampires are sucking our power, must have heard me, take his name in vain.” This song can been seen as defying any and all organized religions and feeling damn good about it.
The celebratory and sing along mood of the album often belies the reality of some of the lyrics. This contrast seems to me an assertion of our human need to celebrate for tomorrow we may die, as they say. These guys want to shake your worldview while you whistle along and tap your foot.