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Waco Brothers

Freedom and Weep (Bloodshot Records)

For a bunch of British and Welsh expatriates who never meant to be a band, the Waco Brothers have just issued their seventh disc for the same label -- a feat deserving honorable mention in today's age of drive-thru weddings and duplicitous record deals. Unfortunately, the sardonic country side project of the Mekons' Jon Langford has lost most of its bite. Although the world-weary Langford has mastered every available musical style since turning punk inside out in the late '70s, the Leeds native now seems content to examine America's festering underbelly with vague references to working-class angst, celebrity privilege and the clumsy ghosts of history. Sure, he'll take a good, timely swipe at Dubya ("Chosen One") or evoke the late Joe Strummer while condemning "casual torture abroad" ("Missing Link"). But this go-round, the Waco Brothers sound like aging activists more concerned with bolo ties than political reform.

 
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