22 July 2015

Sleaford Mods - Austerity Dogs

No, this is not the new album - that is coming out on the 24th July (hopefully) in the UK; it was due earlier in the year, but it has been delayed a few time.  It is one of three releases that I have been really excited about for 2015, but until then I (along with a lot of other people) will have to wait for 'Key Markets' to drop by listening to their earlier work.  This is the sixth album which was released in 2013, the cover is a harsh black and white picture of Jason Williamson (vocalist and lyric writer) in a long black coat and Andrew Fearn standing in the back ground next to a clothing bank.  After the brilliant 'Divide and Exit' (cleverly linked here) entered my world last year, I have been pretty much trying to play catch up to see what their earlier works sounded like and to find out if there has been any change in their style or if there has been just rant, after rant, after venomous filled rant.  Well until I can get myself a copy of their new album, I have decided to give this one a review to pass the time - so how do the dogs sound?

The album starts off with "Urine Mate (Welcome To The Club)" which starts off with John Paul delivering a warm up rant which goes on for a minute and sounds like it is getting everything ready for Messrs Williamson and Fearn to start giving the world a kick in the nads that it needs.  It also sounds as if he is giving Jason Williamson the same piece of mind that Mr Williamson gives to the rest of the world - it starts off with that level of simmering anger that was the main fuel of 'Divide and Exit'.  Once the music starts, it is really minimal (just a basic bassline, the odd snare sound and a tambourine sound looping as the tale of the urine stinking man and burning pubs in the shadow of a world turning to shit makes for a truly terrifying opening to this album that is about as raw as anything out there; the perfect antidote to the charts and the eighties revival that has been going for the last few years.  "McFlurry" keeps the tone equally furious – like most of their music, the backing track is minimal as usual; aggressive drums, solid bass and a set of synth sounds towards the end like high-end drone.  Mr Williamson sounds as gives another slice of distain against Boris Johnson, the end of the high street and the world which he views where everything is turning to shit and the earning of a BRIT award means jack shit (which is something that I (and I speak for me and not the rest of the blog team) agrees with).  There is a telephone conversation on the end, which just adds to the overall grime and tone of the song; two songs in, going very well. The third track is called “My Jampandy” has a tone which can only be described as fucking vicious – starting off with avoiding a wanker/friend in the park whilst going out with his kid and the rant that comes after that, you get the feeling that nothing is safe from this man; you have a rant about weight, lad culture and violence and it keeps driving on with the relentless drive of the background music which has no give or difference.  I love the relentless nature of the music and everything that swings around within the number – when he say ‘weeeeeeeeee’ in one section of the song, it always makes me laugh out loud.  Then we come to “Fizzy” which is a storming track, the distain about the joys of the modern working environment with the usual minimal music which is shown for the strength it is on this number as you focus on the lyrics and the message behind them; when you have anything else come into the song, it is it when there is a blank piece of the song that is not being used for the next barrage against the world.  If you have been in a shit, dead end job which gives you mission statements and people who do not have a clue – then this song will make so much sense, this is fury incarnate and the anger has been driven into something of a glorious release.  I do wish I could have seen these guys when they supported the Specials, as it would have been brilliant to see the songs go over the heads of the audience whilst some of them would have got it straight away. 

“Donkey” starts with the sound of a donkey and the mood actually changes (sort of).  It feels like a strange dream sequence which is voiced by Sir Williamson and Fearn with more noise coming from the machine and the rants being kept to a minimum on this number.  Calling rock n’ roll a con and the disgust at the rock scene is almost like a break so they can get their breath back.  There are so many brilliant lines in this songs – ‘White Collar Bollocks Sing Along’, ‘’Silly little leopard skins on, Les Paul singy song, song – nah’.  It may not be as vicious as the other tracks here, but it is still a barbed shit of hatred and full of anger.  ”PPO Kissin Behinds” follows a similar them, the rant is controlled and does not sound like a you are being pinned against the world whilst the Mods tell you what is wrong with the world.  But the message is still a little gem, cow bell and all; it is a flippant and has a certain swagger about it.  “Shit Streets Runny” starts off with a confession of sorts but with no remorse in the voice about the acts of yesteryears; maybe a hint of regret in some ways.  The brags about what used to happen on a weekend and the masculine parading that is something that can be related to, it also has another guest appearance from John Paul to give it another voice to describe that time of your life when going out is all you want and that time some little shit spikes your drink – it might not be a track I come back to that much, but it still sounds more full of life than anything from the top 40 and that popular crowd of chart wankers.  “The Wage Don’t Fit” is back to the outright aggression of this act (not that this is the only thing that they excel in, they are sharp as buttons), the disillusion of minimal wage working (something that this government haven’t got a clue about) and other things that can piss off the person who is at the bottom of their luck.  This is one of the best songs of this album, a real fucking amazing and the way Williamson spits out “Do you think I would ignore fame and fortune for the fucking fun of it”, you know he is speaking the truth.

Back to the slower swagger with “Showboat”, there is a mocking tone to this song and they are taking the piss out of hipster bands and the rule of moving to London for fame and fortune; the music sounds like a fairground gone wrong, it is rather hypnotic and in tone with the song.  It might not sound as harsh as other songs, but it is one of the strongest song of the album.  “I Don’t Wanna Disco or Two” is next, this is the longest song on the album; another song about fighting, shitty promoters, musical freedom and a sample heralding the breakdown of society which is scheduled to happen in the first decades of society.  Saying as the world is generally turning to shit and the description of Mr Williamson being robbed and killed is one of many chilling descriptions in this song.  It seems to go by in the blink of an eye and the backing track is even sparser than ever, another phenomenal track.  “£5.60” is a moody little number about purchases made late at night for dubious substances from people who are desperate for the cash and do not know how to charge for their merchandise.  What surprises me is that the word ‘fuck’ is bleeped out twice on the copy I purchased – as if all the earlier fuck, cunts and bastards were ok, but the album finally given up?  Anyway, it does not stop this moody track from holding your attention like the rest of the album and keeping this listener incredible entertained.  The penultimate track is called “Kill It Clean” and the horns start off with a horn; questioning why everything sounds the same, being made to feel and act so small.  It is a song that has a confidence built in, it is the sound of belief and that is something that this band has shown in each release I have heard.  Ending the album is “Bored to Be Wild” and this is the kingpin of the album, they sound so relentless and the energy coming from the song is bewitching.  When it is on repeat for the blog, it felt like a whirlpool of despair that was all consuming.  The rants are multiple on this one, to go through them would need another paragraph on its own.  But safe to say it is the track of the album and it is also the perfect end to this record.

Like everything that Sleaford Mods do, I fucking love this – I love the minimal music, I love the poetic nature of the lyrics (yes, there is a style in them which can be described as poetic), I love the no-nonsense approach to the subject matters and the delivery that does not give a living fuck about what you or anyone else thinks.  This was before they started to make the name they have made for themselves, from the couple of tracks I have heard from their new album that attitude and commitment have not deviated one iota.  This album is fierce, proud and as rough as it comes.  In preparation for Friday, listen to all of their work and make this one amongst the first that you listen to – you will not regret it.

Top track – Bored to Be Wild

10 out of ten – This is proof that there is a God (and he is very pissed off)

You can purchase one of the versions of the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Sleaford Mods website here

You can purchase the album from their Bandcamp page here (as well as other releases)

You can stream the album on Spotify here

You can stream the album on Deezer here

You can stream the album on Tidal here

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