The Mekons make the best punk put-ons. For two decades, on 12 record labels, they have played dress-up like legendary thrift-store divas: country cowpokes, leftist drunks, Americana rockers, lesbian pirates, Manhattan art-show impresarios, and comic-strip scribblers. What makes the put-on such a powerful come-on is that they know the line between performance and performance art; walking it makes them relevant (whereas the Fall ain’t). They’re honest drag queens without the safety net of celebrity or pretension. This time around, the Mekons finally take their clothes off. The concept for Me is latex love, pill thrills, and an 18-inch rubber dildo called “super dick”—the Mmmbop joy of sex. Musically, they are all over the map, darting between country plucking and canned beats, Tricky tricks and jammy jams. Even in this Jerry Springer Decade, there’s still a rush when Mekons singer and poster pinup Sally Timms spills forth the contents of her purse, dropping the names of feminine products on “Enter the Lists.” (“Motrin” never sounded so sexy as when exhaled by Timms.) The effect is as giddy when singer and playboy Tom Greenhalgh pleadingly raps, “Come on my tits” to the bass/accordion workout “Tourettes.” Between the commercials and cum shots, the Mekons give us an accurate, if postmodern portrait of sex somewhere between AIDS and Viagra. Guitarist-singer-big-dick Jon Langford waxes vulnerable about a woman getting her period on “Far Sub Dominant.” Greenhalgh comically mixes up the threat of death with sex more effectively than Seal. By the end

of the album, you realize it’s no drag show at all but—beneath their slips—the Mekons. You’ll want to get in bed with them.—Jason Cherkis