It's hard to discern where Jon Langford draws the line between his role as a member of The Mekons and his place in any number of active and viable side groups (Waco Brothers, Skull Orchard, solo). The difficulty lies in the fact that Langford never holds back an ounce of energy or integrity in anything he does, including his amazing work as a visual artist.
For his latest moonlighting project, Langford has joined forces with The Sadies of Canada for this rambling, rumbling hybrid splendor. Langford's element is so broad and deep that he is rarely out of it regardless of how he applies it, so he is equally at home in the midst of Moon's punkish onslaught (the Clash-meets-Hankpandemonium of "American Pageant," the joyous shuffle of "Up to My Neck in This") and dusty authenticity (the shimmery pedal steel balladry of the title cut, the folky lope of "Strange Birds").
The Sadies are equally up to the task at hand, switching gears between atmospheres and following Langford's lead without a hitch, unless they put it there by design. Once again, Langford has put his unique stamp on a side project that has resulted in the kind of sonic success.