“In England, no one can hear you scream, you’re just fucked lads”.
The last line of the first verse of the title track of this. Except, we’re not, are we? Not all of us. Not the rich, not “the smooth streets in the business quarter/Where the white Range Rovers hum/They sound lovely, white shirts and lunch bellies” that’s the second verse.
It’s followed up with this, from those who have not, while they have. The many, not the few, if you will: “I want it all like a crack forest gateau”.
Look, Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn, the Sleaford Mods, are the most original band we have. Williamson uses words in a way no one else does. A Poet Laurette for the forgotten generation? Well take this couple from the incredible “DIwhy”. “You’re not DiY, you’re a fucking twat/You look like Fred Dibnah and your haircut’s crap/You’re in a shouty band, you’re not original, man/You’re like the edgy version of something shit”.
Also on that he lays into indie bands who do playlists “playlists for Fred Perry”. I get about three press releases a week trumpeting this as a good thing. Let’s just say that I am on the side of Sleaford Mods when it comes to this and leave it there.
This is a slightly more sonically varied record than usual. Fearn has opened up the palette a little further and there’s a superb guest spot from Florence Shaw Of Dry Cleaning, who gives an incredible cameo on “Force Ten From Naverone”
“Tilldipper” ends the debate about whether they’re a punk band once and for all, surely? The character in the piece (you can’t call it a song in the conventional sense) reckons he wants a lifestyle and he’s getting one, over 2 minutes 22 seconds of the harshest electronic music you’ll ever hear.
“On The Ground” is violent and nasty – 2023 is violent and nasty – and “Right Wing Beast” should be played in schools to any clueless fool who thinks GB News has a point. “You’re all getting mugged by the aristocracy” sings (really!) Williamson, and the boredom that seems to coarse through the nation it opined on “Smash Each Other Up” – which also contains the glorious line “I am levelling up like a Tory Twat”.
There’s a piano line to “Don”, there’s a real sort of funkiness to “So Trendy” and “I Claudius” slows the pace to wonderful effect to become a real highlight, but “Pit 2 Pit” changes the vibe. Somewhere about 2am in the morning this is a soundtrack to a scrap.
But, its in “Apart From You” that you can find the key to Sleaford Mods in 2023. “There’s a system, and its you.” Offers its first line and that’s the point, isn’t it? The game is rigged against us. Its us against “Tory Kong” (the next one, and truly ready for the drum and bass club, by the day, dark and pulsing) and there’s one winner.
The best thing about Sleaford Mods is they never offer answers. They merely tell you what’s going on, and you make your own mind up. We all know its about “The Rhythm Of Class” – as the last one puts it. The last one by the way as a real 80s drum beat and if it was any more retro I’d be trying to dance with Dawn at the school disco. But that rhythm of class dictates we are on the outside, looking for crumbs at the top table, walking around like some demented cliché from Oliver Twist asking for more.
If it feels like we have no one in our corner then that’s not actually true. We’ve got Sleaford Mods. And ok, if they dismiss reviews as “I still wanna be rated by some prick”, then sound, but this particular one thinks “UK Grim” is another stunning piece of work from a band that keeps on pushing the boundaries.