BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Well known for his eccentricity, Jon Langford sounds surprisingly straight-laced on this eponymous debut by what appears to be yet another new ensemble. The Welsh-born, Chicago-based journeyman has had a restless relationship with the bands he’s fronted in the past — the Mekons, the Waco Brothers, the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, and The Three Johns, chief among them — and all these outfits have served to underscore his insurgency. While Jon Langford’s Lost Souls isn’t necessarily equipped to engage him with the mainstream, it does suggest that he’s happy to make music that’s easier to digest, at least as far as memorable melodies are concerned. Finding an even divide between upbeat offerings and sweetly sincere balladry, songs such as “Natchez Trace,” Mystery,” “Masterpiece” and “Waste” emphasize a certain ease and accessibility that makes them readily easy to embrace.
Still, it’s not that Langford has abandoned his rascally ways entirely. “In Oxford Mississippi” boasts a certain amount of sway and swagger, and indeed, “What’s My Name?” finds him as edgy as always. After all, Langford does well to emphasize his peculiar personality. Nevertheless, this certainly seems like his most accessible effort yet, a sign perhaps that after years of being regarded as an odd man out, he’s ready to find that balance between talent and tenacity. Well done, old boy. Well done.
DOWNLOAD: “Natchez Trace,” Mystery,” “Masterpiece”
Ed. note: Over here at the Blurt bunker we dig our vinyl, even more so when it’s colored wax, so it was a no-brainer to order the new Langford LP direct from Bloodshot when word of the amazing splatter/emerald-hued pressing hit. Check out this closeup: