Sleaford Mods: Key Markets – album review
Sleaford Mods – Key Markets (Harbinger Sound)
CD | DL | LP
Out July 10th
According to the Independent newspaper, this album and their televised-by-the-Beeb Glastonbury appearance will ‘catapult them into the mainstream’. ‘Fuck Off’, says Ged Babey on behalf of Louder Than War, ‘Joe Public’ will never get Sleaford Mods prole art da-da-ism.
“You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!”
– William Shakespeare – Henry IV part 1
“You’re a jammy slug, missed the salt, a twat with nine lives, a lucky little tit-cake … all gone quiet on the wanker front…”
– Sleaford Mods – Bronx in a Six
In which Ged Babey revisits his idea nicked from Seething Wells to Review the Artist in the Style of the Artist (to be read how Jason Williams sings…)
Album of the Year mate? Course it is. No question. The Only Band That Matters. Foregone conclusion innit? The Kill Boris Band (C) the Daily Fail. Business as usual for the Sleafords. No progression just more aggression. Less focussed. More random. Like the Goodies on their tandem. “On Crack” only they are Bad Men. The Cockney Rejects go minimalist hip-hop via the bookies and the chip-shop. ‘Salt and vinegar-ga-ga-ga -ga enquires Alan Vega-ga-ga’. Disorienteering with the dispossessed whilst playing Dis-core on pro-tools, ‘Where’s your tool?’, ‘What tool?’, ‘This FUCKING TOOL! Voice of the Working Class and Under. Loved to death by critics, still obsessed by punk rock and wanting a new bastardised twisted strain. Beats from Flat Eric. Idle. Basslines nicked from UK82 hardcore bands. Telling the audience of middle-class middle-income middle-men at Glastonfuckinbury to FUCKOFF! Euphemisms, Hilda-Ogden-isms ( “You’re one of them punk rockets aren’t you?”), FUCKstapositions, Mike Leigh, Jerry Sadowitz, Peaches, street slang, jive-talk, Jive-Bunny, juxta-supposed, clever-trevor, clap-trap. 1980’s Light Entertainment parodies of people who never existed in the first place. Derek and Clive (the grammar school boys favourite) Rock Lobster my ARSE! Saturday Live (Christ on a bike did we actually believe that Ben Elton used to mean-it-man? the CUNT!) Helplines who are no help. Guidelines for the blind leading the three mices and call centre scripts which just aren’t funny. Shaun Rydon and Johnny Lyder on the comeback circus trail. Gurn for the cameras. Gotta earn a crust, spread with English butter. Non sequiturs and ones secateurs snipping away at the privet hedge of the defenders of the privileged. Working class traitors who voted Tory – you selfish twats. “Whats wrong with being on a government database if you’ve got nothing to hiiiiide?” Tim Roth in Made in England. Jerry Sadowitz on Jimmy Saville. Fuck the Pain Away staring Phil Silvers. These are Few of My Favourite Tings. Don’t make that face. If the wind changes you’ll stay like it. I counted 41 fucks, 9 cunts 10 twats 4 wankers , the odd bastard and a wonderful freshly minted new one ‘tit-cake’ – this year’s tit-rifle. One of my favourite lines is “…a seizure isn’t actually a physical crack-it’s just your body trying to take itself back from rules…”
I can’t keep this up , I’m out of (fuckin’) breath (you cunt!)…
When I reviewed Sleaford Mods live, in this style, it was re-tweeted by David Nolan of I Swear I Was There fame with a highly complimentary comment – he also sent it to a mate of his, editor of a Nottingham newspaper. This meant a lot. It meant that I was (fuckin’) right. A man who made a documentary and book about the Sex Pistols gig which kickstarted Manchester thought I’d nailed it – with a written-pissed ramble in which I mentioned ‘Comedians’ by Richard Griffiths, Mike Leigh, The Business Suburban Rebels and Sadowitz’s Pall Bearers Revue; Key moments in popular Kulture which influenced Sleaford Mods (possibly).
You either ‘get’ Sleaford Mods or you don’t. You really can’t say they’re OK. Muso’s and musical craftsmen are just so basically at-odds with what Sleaford Mods do that it’s understandable they loathe them. The younger they are, the less of the 70’s 80’s pop culture reference points which punctuate the work, they get. Cannon & Ball? Shakin’ Stevens? Sid Snot? Who the fuck are they?
I didn’t understand Bronx in a 6 though until Q magazine explained it was a make of shoe and nothing to do with a New York suburb.
“We don’t want airplay. We’re not Cannon and Ball” is a good call and Jason actually sings a bit more and the album does have its mellower moments like the surprise choice as a single Deadly Tarantula Cargo, when the hilarious, beautifully-scanned Giddy on the Ciggies and the much discussed Rupert Trousers are probably the albums high points. They are the Pet Shop Boys of the Cash Converter Generation.
There are so many brilliant quotable lines, as always; My login is Jason-wants-to know-why-he-cant-fuckin-login-keef… after which the word ‘problem’ is echo-ed Sex Pistol style.
‘Cunt’ is used as a song title when in fact it means to say ‘Can’t’. Same way as Happy Mondays spelled it ‘Carnt’ in the plasticman g-face squirrel album title. Is this them wrestling back the English language from pedants like Gove or just juvenile pissing about? Bit of both.
The line which makes me laugh out loud every single time is the one about a Koala Bear’s shit…. ” Eucalyptus? You can fuck-off! ” which somehow sums up the surrealist humour at play here. Which is why I can’t see Joe Public getting it and the SM’s being catapulted into the mainstream. Why the fuck would they want to be ‘in the mainstream’ when they can hopefully sell enough records and t-shirts and shit to maintain themselves and their families.
I was asked to hold-back my review til the week before release so consequently, since I add to my review daily in my ‘free-time’; I have a job vaguely similar to the one Williamson used-to; I have read all the other reviews online and in the monthlies and weeklies. The band post them up daily on their Facebook. They are all very positive and yet all completely different in the aspects of the album they pick up on.
Like that old advert for the Radio Times, ‘I never knew there was so-much in it’ Innit? I did. The two of them are masters of their artistry, at their peak and on a roll. Shit-hot and on-fire. Their heads will be swelling to the size of fucking great Montgolfier Brothers type balloons. They’ll probably start going down the Groucho Club and shagging supermodels…except that’s exactly what they WON’T DO!
They’re old enough to have seen their rock heroes sell-out, turn-crap, go-thru-the-motions and turn into caricatures of their own public image (or Pubic Hair Ltd!). That’s why when they tour they hand-pick supports like Chaos UK, Subway Sect, the Cravats and Steve Ignorants Slice of Life … all the old punk and post-punk artists who never sold-out or ended up shit.
SO, I’m NOT saying that Sleaford Mods are solely an ‘old punks band’, just that, on behalf of my generation of teenage-in-77 old fuckers that, we love them and understand them perhaps a teensy-bit more than younger fans. It’s so great that they exist so that we don’t have to invent them.
Then there are the pitfalls they know of from History: They do not want a fanbase like the one Sham 69 found themselves with, hence a Facebook post stating;
“But please if you are new to this band and are expecting some kind of cross between ‘This Is England’ and Twycross Zoo mixed in with ‘The Firm’ then please do one. Class tourists need not apply, they can fuck off back to Cotton Wool land. For the rest of you, well thank you very much for the kind words and great emails it really means a lot.”
Key Markets is simply the latest great Sleaford Mods album. It has moments of desolate contemplation as well as the usual profanity and abuse. Their are big truths and profundity side by side with trivial asides that clutter the memory. It reflects how fucked up our brains get as we get to middle age and how completely bollocksed and divided the UK is.
And on my I-pod on the hour bus journey to and from work it makes me smile and takes the edge off the daily grind.
Catch Sleaford Mods live at the following live dates. Tickets from the band’s website: sleafordmods.com.
- 4th – 6th Salisbury, End of the Road Festival
- 10th – 13th Isle of Wight, Bestival
Support on the following ‘Key Markets’ UK tour dates comes from Steve Ignorant’s Slice Of Life on all dates (apart from Brighton, Cambridge and Nottingham.) Mark Wynn is second support on all dates.
- 23rd Manchester, Ritz
- 24th Carlisle, Brickyard
- 25th Newcastle, Northumbria Uni
- 28th Leeds, Irish Centre
- 29th Birmingham, Institute
- 1st Cardiff, Y Plas
- 2nd London, Forum
- 4th Bristol, Bierkeller
- 5th Bournemouth, Fire Station
- 6th Brighton, The Old Market
- 8th Cambridge, Junction
- 9th Nottingham, Rock City
All words Ged Babey. Author profile here and as usual, if you like my ramblings, have money to spare or a big heart or both, then help out my mates daughter here. Just put ‘Anonymous via Ged’ so that I know that some cunts actually give a shit. (With thanks to those who have donated xx).