All That Glue
Granted, I was a little slow to the party with Sleaford Mods. I heard a few tracks and thought they were clever, biting, funny – but I couldn’t commit to the albums. That changed with 2019’s Eton Alive which I instantly thought was brilliant. Something clicked. It arrived at the right time for me. And I started heading back through the singles and EPs and albums – and then this arrived to help with that; a stop-gap collection that isn’t quite a Greatest Hits but is a great sampler helping to fill the blanks in.
The new album is here soon in early 2021 and ahead of that the brilliant Mork N Mindy was the first time I ever headed out to a store to buy a brand new vinyl single.
But 2020’s best soundtrack in some ways was Sleaford Mods, particularly when set to footage of the failed Brexit/s and England’s botching of the pandemic – or Boris’ bungling at least, shouldn’t blame the whole country. Great vicious songs like Jobseeker, Jolly Fucker and Rich List seemed to sum up a decade of British psyche – to the thrum of throbbing bass (Tied Up in Nottz) and the hilarious and angry poetry of Jason Williamson (McFlurry) and the sometimes dance-y, hip-hop beats (Blog Maggot) and angular post-punk scuzz-fuzz beats of Andrew Fearn (Routine Dean).
That Sleaford’s singular musical recipe could be cooked up by any musical meth-heads and instantly ruined is the special secret. The ultimate ingredients here are the personalities of the players, their worldview shining through in every verse’s quip (Fat Tax) and in the way the music’s strange lurches and urgent swagger provides not just the marching stripes but the meter and measure. Basically this is the sort of frustration to many young players, suggesting they could have done it while knowing they never could.
And yes it can be dismissed as ‘not music’ and maybe it’s not – it has shares in performance art, comedy, social commentary and art-wank (the ironically non-pretentious kind) at any rate.
Punk by default, hip-hop in some sense, the street-poetry has an anger to it that reminds me of Rage Against The Machine’s best palpability – Rage being the very American manifestation of a coping mechanism; Sleaford of course being oh so British.
This collection will let you know if you’re a fan or not, will let you know why anyone’s been telling you to check them out. You might thing the music and your mates that love it are bonkers and you might not be wrong. But this catalogue-sampler and the best of this reluctantly-brilliant duo’s work arrived by stealth as the special fireworks. Roll on new album, roll on.
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