REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Sleaford Mods 'Key Markets', An Understanding Of Dole Queue Politics

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

The deeply perceptive outrage of a skilled social commentator.


The socially conscious observational elegies of Sleaford Mods are hybrid relatives of the descriptive essaying found in the romanticised Englishness of The Kinks... a specific, distinctive style of picturesque lyricism, a huge photo-album of narratives almost, that can be easily viewed and interpreted for what they are. Moments are usually fleeting and to ensure those fleeting moments remain is where the reputations of good and bad lyricists are built.

It's a method of writing also preferred by the likes of Ian Dury, Alex Turner, Pete Doherty and endless others... as one might update a diary, endless sequels to advancing modernity, triumphs of a past still culturally significant in this ever changing Britain.  Today's most relevant chroniclers, without question, are Nottingham post-punk/hip hop duo Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn... best known as Sleaford Mods.

Their third album 'proper' 'Key Markets' is as previous two 'Austerity Dogs' (2013) and 'Divide And Exit' (2014) were. Jason Williamson's enraged dystopian monologues are brilliantly precise and show a sharp intellect for discourse, kicking and prodding at the face of a broken society with venomous grammatical zig-zagging. Andrew Fearn's minimal orchestration of strong, low toned bass lines and skeletal discordant beats is what completes that compelling curveball and sets them slightly apart from the rest.

Latest single "No One's Bothered" is a catchy, quick paced, punk driven bluster of exasperated irritation..."You're trapped? Me too! Alienation, No one's bothered!" chants Williamson with swiping sarcasm, above the relentless drumbeat and throbbing bass, in a dig at human behaviours fading sense of connection under Capitalism. In another withering analytical jab, this time on the marching swagger of "Bronx In A Six" he lashes out from the slow handclap of a beat "You wonder why you've got no mates? You pretend to be proud of your own culture, while simultaneously not giving two fucks about your own culture, what culture? FUCK CULTURE, all you chinny wine tasters die in boxes like the rest of us wasters." His bone rattling fury inspires such imaginative put-downs you wonder if the devil might have breathed a demon into his vernacular mouth.

The sashaying groove funk of "Silly Me" is the laid back, slowest song on the album while "Tarantula Deadly Cargo" with its post-punk thrum, is a fragmented cinematic transition. But its the enraged political conviction of "Face To Faces" that brings out his best, and most frenzied bout of uncompromising vitriolic wordsmithery yet... "Nick Clegg wants another chance. Really? This daylight robbery is now so fucking hateful. It’s accepted by the vast majority..In chains, in our death and in our failure to grab hold of what fucking little we have left we have lost sight, And in the loss of sight we have lost our fucking minds, ALRIGHT??!"  Genius. Pure and utter!

What endears them to the people is the subject matter of their songs and the fact its real life. Most of us can relate to some if not all of what they sing about. it’s unfussy, no frills pub philosophies.

Sleaford Mods understand dole queue politics and council estate manners. The spilled beer and cheap baccy ambience of dead end destinations where streets are narrow and roads lead nowhere. And that very British of traditions to resent the rich and nurture anti-establishment hatred alienating us from anyone with power. They’re not canvassing to be the spokesmen of this generation,  merely voicing their own frustrations and dislikes and if they mirror our own then it shall be a shared mutual distaste that brings us together…nothing more. Jason Williamson will always be an outburst waiting to happen.  Andrew Fearn will always let his beats do the talking.  Sleaford Mods are the best band in the country.

To find out more about Sleaford Mods click here.

To visit Sleaford Mods' Facebook page click here.

Words by Alan Baillie