4 July 2014

Sleaford Mods - Divide & Exit

Until two months ago, I had never heard of the Sleaford Mods.  Like ships in the night, they had passed me by as I watch/listened to other bands.  However (being the old geezer I am), a review in UK music magazine MOJO changed that.  It was the main album review of the month and for some reason it really grabbed my attention.  It was added to the list for reviews and now it is time to find out what the hyped up Grantham mob are about.  After a quick look on the interlink, I can tell you that this is their third album in 2 years (according to Wikipedia, on their website there is two full albums and a singles collection of their original 7" releases).  These guys do look like you would not want to spill their pints, but there is also something refreshingly different from the beginning with the band.  Now just to see if the initial impression is followed by an album that meets the promise....

"Air Conditioning" starts the album with a minimal harsh Fall-esque audio assault on the work.  It is brimming with spite and anger, but there is not much in the way of music here; it is very sparse, aggressive but the short sharp shock treatment is incredibly powerful.  Following up is "Tied Up In Nottz", again it is extremely simple in delivery and what a delivery.  It is so dissatisfied about the state of the world (it seems to be about the pub scene which could be anywhere on this septic isle) and with that hypnotic bass line and stripped back guitar you can just focus on the bile and venom coming from the lyrics. "A Little Dirty" starts with a burp and it is more of the same aggression, but it is still fresh and fascinating.  It is just like a boot stamping on the head repeatedly, just brutal.  Next is "You're Brave" which is more subtle in the delivery (that said, taking about wanking in someone's toilet who you hate is rather bizarre), with this ode to hatred of your host.  I find that this song is just evil and disturbing, probably by design and I am so glad that it has been created - especially the bit about Chumbawamba being shit.  "Strike Force" has a swagger that threatens to take everything away from the listener, without even a bye or leave.  Tough the lyrical theme of disillusionment with modern Britain is very thought provoking. 

"The Corgi" sounds like it could have been the music made for a 70's cop drama car chase, but this song is about our Royal Family and the band's view of them (or at least this is what it seems to me).  As aggressive as the rest of the album, it has a much more fun feel about it.  "From Rags To Richards" is yet another piece of open violence towards the world, aimed at someone who has really fucked off the band.  It is just a reminder that these guys take no prisoners, no-one is safe and the world is a target.  "Liveable Shit" is next, another genius moment that is in a sea of hatred.  I love the line - Nobody likes a fucking Tory reign - this line made me fall head over heels for the album and the band.  It is everything I see in England at the moment and it makes so much sense. Following on is "Under The Plastic & N.C.T." which comes out fighting from the beginning.  There is no prisoners taken here, it is all or nothing and the hatred for the world is dripping like blood from an open wound.  "Tiswas" is the song on here which reminds me most of The Fall (something that has been levelled at the band quite a lot), it shares that distain for the modern world and it will not be happy until the rest of the world shares it vision of the world.

"Keep Out Of It" is more aggressive than most of the tracks on this album, but it come from that same state of mind.  It is one of the most minimal songs on the album, but the distilled anger is disturbing.  It just taunts the world and then keeps going on its merry way.  "Smithy" is much happier than most of the album, but there is little to laugh about in it.  You are just shown a dark mirror for the country to see what it really looks like - all twisted and broken.  "Middle Men" is another highlight on this record which has not given one inch in return for the poison hate letters to Albion, with trappings of post-punk and 80's drum machine it is a punch in the face of anyone who gets in its way.  Finishing the album is "Tweet Tweet Tweet" and it also comes too soon for me.  There has been no surrender along the way to "Tweet Tweet Tweet" and it is the same here, this ode to the modern world of social media is a brilliant ending to a truly different album that ends with such a stop that you have to repeat it straight away.

I will admit that my first impression was not very good - my first words were 'What is this fucking shit', but the more I listened, the more I realised what a powerful, aggressive, modern take on the disenchanted culture of Britain this album is.  Sleaford Mods have kept their music short and effective; nothing outstays it welcome and even with a similar theme running through the album there is not a boring moment on the record.  With more swearing that a Nicki Minaj, you get an alternative view to the current state of the UK; there is anger brewing everywhere and sooner or later, it will boil over again. It is one of the most important albums that I have heard in years and is automatically up for album of the year in ATTIWLTMOWOS towers.  It is that damm good.

10 out of ten - This is proof that there is a God

Top Track - Liveable Shit

You can find more of their music on their Soundcloud page

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a link to the album for our Deezer users

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