Saturday, 4 January 2014

No Fire. No Skill.

Sleaford Mods


It's hard to know where to start with Sleaford Mods. You could go the obvious route and point out the obvious similarities to Jon Cooper-Clarke or The Fall. You could even try and be clever and label their sound as some sort of sub-genre of gritty, arty, British hip-hop. That would be too easy though. Far too easy...

Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn are producing the sort of social commentary that is making the record industry blush. The sort of anger laden and dark poetry that speaks on behalf of every frustrated, impotent man or woman that has to drag their arse into a shitty, soul destroying job every day just to put clothes on their backs or food in their kids bellies.This isn't protest music, these aren't protest songs, it's the sound of two Nottingham blokes who are angry at the system and what it does to us. It's always been easy for the likes of Billy Bragg and his ilk to fire off missives at governments and politicians from the comfort of their country houses and watch the royalty cheques roll in and keep them in fine wine and Range Rovers. Sleaford Mods are you and me and it's about time the people knew it. If you've ever sat in front of your telly or been on the bus and thought "you're a complete prick mate", then i suggest you give Sleaford Mods a listen. It's cathartic.Remember when Weller and The Clash used to paint pictures of life on council estates and shitty dead end jobs? Well these lads have just cranked it up a notch.


Forget the name, it's misleading. If you're expecting rehashed old mod mimicry from a couple of blokes in bowling shoes, with Steve Marriott haircuts then you're in for a shock. This isn't about 'mod' and never will be. From the early days of 'The Mekon', which i told anyone who would listen to me, to check out on MySpace (yeah kids! remember MySpace?!) through to the latest album 'Austerity Dogs' the sound has developed from bluesy, Yardbirds or The Jam samples through to stark Kraftwerk style loops and beats, mainly down to Andrew Fearne coming on board. It's now a far sparser and more threatening sound. It's ominous and foreboding and makes the listener feel uncomfortable, but that's exactly how it's meant to make you feel. This isn't Kanye West or Dizzy Rascal style of playing it safe. This is the graffiti on the wall of the gents on your local boozer. The one thing that hasn't changed though is the bile filled lyrical invective. It's still a bullet between the eyes when Williamson starts his verbal onslaught. That's the trick with Sleaford Mods you see, it's a dark commentary on what we see and hear every day and no-one is safe from them. The music industry and its manufactured bands, middle management idiots in Burtons suits and pointy shoes through to plastic hooligans, drug dealers and bully boy wife-beaters get it both barrels and lets face it, they all deserve it one way or another. Even Heather McCartney takes one on the chin!


I think it's fair to say you're never going to hear Sleaford Mods played on the radio, the censors would have a nervous breakdown, but that doesn't mean they aren't going to be huge. It's a safe bet that you're going to hear about them one way or another in 2014. The word is being spread via regular gigs at home and abroad and via social networking and it would appear that the industry is starting to prick up it's ears now. I can't see the fat cats in suits getting their claws into these lads though. They're the enemy and always will be. They might just become the darlings of the hipster kids in Shoreditch or Hoxton though, but that's a small price to pay if just one pissed off kid on a Workfare scheme, with his arse hanging out of his trousers buys one of their albums. So if you're tired of your generic Xfm jingly-jangly indie-pop or your middle class, banjo playing, waistcoat wearing, faux-folk nonsense that seems to be all pervading these days and you want something a little darker, a little naughtier, then i suggest you get on board with Sleaford Mods.

Rob H - January 2014