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If the band name Sleaford Mods gives you visions of some nauseatingly unoriginal Jam revival act, a la The Rifles or The Enemy, banish them immediately. Sleaford Mods hate them and their existence is at least partially to reclaim the oft abused “mod” term for a whole new generation of the politically and culturally unrepresented. If Weller were a blue collar worker in austerity Britain he’d likely be making early Fall-esque bass guitar and primitive drum beat hybrids whilst rapping over it like an intelligent but pissed off cross between Mike Skinner and Vinny Jones. The rush on hearing something so different from the norm and anti status-quo is as thrilling, visceral and immediate as anything in recent memory.
The duo from the Nottingham area originally started as a solo project for Jason Williamson (vocals), with Andrew Fearn (bass guitar/ beats) joining at a later point. Williamson released five albums on D.I.Y Nottingham label Deadly Beefburger before coming to the attention of UK noise and industrial label Harbinger Sound. The result of the pair’s first collaboration and new label debut Austerity Dogs was released in August 2013 and after taking some time to be recognied featured in both the readers’ and writers‘ polls for Wire magazine’s albums of the year. It drips with blue collar, inner city rage and frustration – the opiated Wu Tang Clan beats augmented often by a two or three note bass riff. Nothing escapes Williamson’s ire; crap bands, awful junior managers, lad culture, hipsters, arse-kissers, low paid menial jobs, Northern Soul, Brian Eno, nasty booze, show-offs – he’s endlessly incredulous. There appear to be two default responses; shock at Williamson’s industrial language and take it or leave it message or laughter at how spot on he is. Williamson himself said recently: “the whole country’s dying on its arse and people are singing about why don’t we all come together, when they ought to be pissed off”. The three minutes and three seconds of ‘Wage Don’t Fit’ perfectly encapsulates this quote.
The sole quote on their bandcamp gives an indication into the pair’s ethos, “I used to be in bands, I fucking hated it.” Without having to worry about the potentially bruised egos of a band set-up the pair have been remarkably prolific, releasing singles collection Chubbed Up in February – containing the outstanding ‘Jobseeker,’ opening lyric “So Mr. Williamson, what have you done in order to find gainful employment since your last signing on date? Fuck all.”
New album Divide and Exit will be released two days after this performance. Live presentation will be a backing track and vocalist but Williamson’s aggressive delivery will keep things interesting. This really feels like the start of something special.