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KatJonBand: KatJonBand

B+

KatJon Band

Album: KatJonBand
Label: Carrot Top Records

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Jon Langford and Katrin Bornfeld (a.k.a. Kat Ex) have been friends and musical compatriots for years, thanks to their shared roots in the '70s European anarcho-art-punk scene as, respectively, leader and songwriter of Britain's The Mekons and drummer for Dutch band The Ex. Their sporadic collaborations solidified into a full-fledged project, KatJonBand, at an impromptu live show in 2004, and the off-the-cuff energy continues on KatJonBand's self-titled debut. Fans of Langford and Ex's main bands shouldn't be surprised or displeased by what they come up with here, since the two already have so many stylistic and philosophical points in common, including a thoughtful, uncompromising left-wing outlook and an interest in augmenting punk's furious howl with elements from traditional folk and world music. Though KatJonBand leaves some room for languid relationships-on-the-rocks material like "Hey You Don't Love Me," the album is at its best when the duo steps up the tempo and the ideological fire, especially on the haunting "Bad Apples" and "Do You?", which sums up the Iraq war with the stinging refrain "you break it, you buy, your country, bye-bye."