Somewhere between the anger and discontent of punk, and the foul mouthed swaggering flow of 90’s Hip-Hop, sits Sleaford Mods, the duo from Nottingham who kicked down a few doors with 2014’s ‘Divide and Exit’, which landed on more than a few best album lists of that year. While this was their 3rd release on Indie label Harbinger Sound, Sleaford Mods in one form or another, have been making and releasing music since 2006.
This seems to be the reason that the word “unlikely” is often attached to the phrase “success story” whenever they’re written about in the press, but after a listen of their new album ‘Key Markets’ you’ll soon realise there is nothing unlikely about it at all.
In an era of faceless four-piece bands, the uniqueness of Sleaford Mods is the first thing that grabs your attention. Armed with only a microphone and a laptop it’s quite surprising the amount of energy they put out both live and on record, it becomes less surprising when you realise the man behind the mic is Jason Williamson, a man with seemingly limitless stamina, fuelled by a white-hot anger that mercilessly scorches any fool stupid enough to cross his path.
One of the things that make Sleaford Mods so engaging is the humour and the hatred that engulfs Jason Williamson’s rapid-fire lyrics, and this album does not disappoint. Whether it’s gems such as “Miliband got hit with the ugly stick. Not that it matters, the chirping c*** obviously wants the country in tatters.” On “In Quiet Streets” or “munt David Gandy, ripped up Tory cunt” on ‘Giddy On the Ciggies’ You’ll be reaching for the rewind button in stiches at his acerbic wit.
On the surface it seems that lyrically it’s all “c***s” and “f***s” but after a closer listen you get the feeling that Williamson uses profanity like a Jazz musician uses a saxophone. The fact is he’s a poet, in the same vein of Mike Skinner during the ‘Original Pirate Material’ era; managing to depict the boredom, greyness, and anger that exists in everyday life, for everyday people.
A whole article could be devoted to the venomous uppercuts Jason lands on various targets, from Boris Johnson to the rhythm section of Blur, and while it’s easy to focus on him as he is the voice of the band, a few honourable mentions go to his partner in crime, Andrew Fearn. The thumping baselines on ‘Face To Faces’ and ‘Bronx In A Six’, and the skittish loops on ‘Arabia’ show that Mr. Fearn is also on point throughout this LP.
The Nottingham duo is a band like no other, mirroring the times we live in when nearly every other band remains silent; and in a Britain still reeling from various cuts and the lingering stench of austerity, Sleaford Mods are the soundtrack and antidote to working class rage.