As the album begins, the elegant harmonies and catchy pop hooks set the tone… oh shit, wrong record. Hold up – *aggressive chanting, punchy Post-Punk bass lines and an angry sounding man expressing his love for the smell of beer gardens ensues* Ah, that’s better.
SLEAFORD MODS are Nottingham’s riotous Post-Punk duo, made up of Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn, they’re probably the most talked about band in the UK right now. Pissing off main stream rags like the Daily Mail (after giving the DM’s hero Boris a lyrical slagging) as much as they are exciting the musical press and blogosphere. If blog darlings do your head in surely you’ve gotta love em simply for giving an up yours to media barons and their political stooges? But I’m in danger of getting caught up in the hype, there is so much more going on here than hype. That said, this could be one of the cult albums of the decade, fuck it I’m getting hypey again.
Out July 24th their 7th… no, 3rd… no wait, 5th album (clarified to us by the man himself via Twatter) ‘Key Markets’ doesn’t just seize the Zeitgeist, it throttles it with both hands like Homer on Bart in the Simpsons. Once again the Mods smash it lyrically, once again you possibly won’t realise just how catchy some of Andrew Fearn’s (who does the tunes) hooks and beats are. You will probably, like me, want to shout about social injustice, generational divides plus the idiot muppet down your very own local.
Across the twelve songs of the record, over a Post-Punk backdrop of punchy bass lines, Jason Williamson spits an array of venomous insults I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of. But, thankfully, these are targeted not at work experience journalists like me but (mainly) at the dishonesty of modern party politics, pop culture and the music industry, plus unnamed grievances from his personal life. From the particularly politically fuelled ‘In Quiet Streets’, where Williamson growls ‘Miliband got hit with the ugly stick, not that it matters / The chirping c*nt obviously wants the country in tatters’, to ‘Rupert Trousers’ which targets ‘Idiots (who) visit submerged villages in £200 wellies[…] Spitting out fine cheese made by that tool from Blur’ you can sense a familiar straight-talking exasperation for politics plus the small mindedness of the rich (yep, they still exist) running throughout the album. As well as a certainty that it’ll be a while before we hear of any Sleaford Blur collaborations, or branded Mod cheeses.
These familiar territories make these songs relatable as ever to long term fans – yes, though the last few albums haven’t exactly been HUGELY different from each other, the subtle progressions are there, including Jason starting to venture more into out an out singing territory. However, if you think they give a shit what you or I think about their ‘evolution as a band’, you’re making a big boo-boo. Has there ever been a band who define ‘don’t give a fuck’ more loudly than SLEAFORD MODS. The album focuses on ‘the delusion of grandeur and the pointlessness of government politics’, Williamson has said in a statement. He then added: “It’s a classic. Fuck ‘em.”
Perhaps they’re just a bit aggro, or perhaps coming from the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher made them feel compelled to bring something honest to the world from Grantham; to repair the reputational damage done to the Big G? Who knows? All I know is this album is raw, heavy, and unbelievably moreish – who are they gonna target next?! Are there any Emperors left to have their new clothes removed? The songs are resonant, almost therapeutic, with lyrics that echo what large swathes of the country are thinking and feeling. They resonate with us, all while using various creative iterations of the F and C words; if the Mods were actually allowed get onto daytime radio, I reckon they’d get into the top 20 with this album. Even without radio, they just might do it. Anyone for a RATM style ‘Mods to Number One’ campaign?
Yours in Love of New Music,
Emily Rose Malone x
Additional Words by Mark Del x