Sleaford Mods: Spare Ribs – album review
Sleaford Mods: Spare Ribs
Rough Trade Records
Vinyl/CD/DL all platforms
Release date 15th January
Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn are not resting on their laurels as Sleaford Mods return with a fine as fuck platter of past and present, dissing people in their path along the way on their finest form reckons Wayne AF Carey…
Sleaford Mods have never been a band to go all shit on us (and LTW have always backed them up when no-one else cared – check this 2013 review here) and try to get massive fame through the normal channels. Alright, they did Jools Holland and divided opinion with the excellent Jobseeker a few years back, with Andrew pressing his keyboard and nodding along with a can of lager whilst Jason (interviewed by John Robb here) spits out his venomous rage, doing Chubby Brown style footwork, looking like a harder Ian Curtis. Leaping into 2021 they still grab your attention with their stories of broken Britain and a bent government, with a comic twist provided by Williamson. This time he tackles the plight of independent venues, name-checking 80’s films and basically ramping up his unique style of political street comedy gold.
It all kicks in with a gritty intro proclaiming “We’re all so Tory tired” and “Point Break this ain’t, no one’s surfing here at all” to the bleeps and beats from Fearns. Shortcummings rolls in with that familiar slow burning bass associated with The Mods and Jason is cryptic yet clued up as ever with his familiar twinge which gets better. Nudge It has a proper repetitive grime beat which shows that Fearn is getting into his experimenting with sounds and building on his funked up rep. The verse from Amy Taylor from Amyl & The Sniffers is a cryptic yet knowing dig. “I can drop a lyric with no need to drop a name” followed by Jason sneering “Stood outside an high-rise trying to look like a gangster” Anyone who knows Sleafords history will remember a slight beef with a certain band not so long ago…
Elocution is a stand out that bounces along and is almost as good as Jobseeker. Funny as fuck line on the album “I wish I had the time, to be a wanker just like you” A proper dig at false bastards pretending to support grass root venues. Out There is a dark and brooding reflection of living through lockdown with Williamson living it in the lyrics and describing in detail the observations of Covid Britain. Another clever line “Let’s get Brexit fucked by an horses penis until it’s misery splits” Jesus. Panic behind the tills. Glimpses kicks in with the bass, pigeon impressions and echoing vocals giving another take on the chilling scenes of the pandemic “The roads don’t move so fast now, the airs got space and glow in clouds now” Chilling but true I know. Top Room is excellent and being the trainspotter I am I swear I can hear a bit of Man Parrish in there from Andy. It’s that simple sound that carries Jason’s scary twisted thoughts on unwanted consumerism and reminiscing on being in Paris whilst spitting that venom.
Mork n Mindy needs no introduction really. Another hammering by 6 Music and a tale of growing up in the 80’s in similar surroundings to my youth. Who didn’t fuck about with toys like that back then? A hypnotic beat with guest vocals from Billy No Mates who provides that nagging chorus in that nagging American sound. Spare Ribs is a right laugh and reminds me of Snap if they had walked around the streets describing the gritty realism of homelessness and the working class. A funky head nodder that takes the piss and highlights what we all are to the fuckin’ Eton nobs running the country. All Day Ticket has some attempted ironic singing by Williamson and some excellent lyrics with a nice sample of Planet Rock slyly put in there by Fearn. Proper head nodder and a highlight.
More pigeon impressions and a banging beat introduces Thick Ear. It’s got a top distortion sound going on, simple beat and spitting venom yet again. A proper dig at construction companies making profit out of crumbling buildings, turning them into apartments that won’t last, for cunts who want to live in the city centre. I see it all the time these days. I Don’t Rate You is probably my highlight. A fuckin cracking wonk sound from the mind of Fearn and a total boot in the nether regions to a few certain people by Williamson who gives it the Crass treatment with his venomous delivery. Brilliant. Fish Cakes is another step back into Jason’s past where he reminisces on how things were in the 80’s. A gritty tale that hits hard if you were of that certain age. A brooding dark trance like track that cracks the surface.
If you’ve followed Sleaford Mods from an early part in their ventures you’ll definitely agree that this will smack you in the face like Divide & Exit did when it hit your ears. Don’t get me wrong, Key Markets, English Tapas and Eton Alive are all good albums and I can’t slate any of them. Yet Williamson and Fearns have hit back with an album that doesn’t change their sound yet does in the experimental sounds on this offering which excites me like Divide & Exit did. Not a return to form as they’ve never lost it. A return to hard hitting lyrics which are backed with some comedy madness, grime, dupstep and old school punk bass that excites. On their own…
Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here