Sleaford Mods' Key Markets: What You Need To Know
A little background...
Nottingham-based duo Sleaford Mods – aka Andrew Fearn and Jason Williamson – have spent the last few years not-so-quietly building a reputation for themselves on the live circuit with their unique blend of lo-fi punk / hip-hop, churning out an impressive seven albums since 2007. Most of these were released on small indie imprints like A52 Sounds and Deadly Beefburger Records, but since signing with Harbinger Sound to release their 2013 album Austerity Dogs the band's audience has grown significantly and their raw, uncompromising approach has earned them a loyal following among music fans eager for an antidote to the homogenised major label fodder they feel is occupying most of the nation's radio airspace.
Despite their name, Sleaford Mods are anything but the retro, parka-wearing revivalists they pour their scorn onto and in recent years vocalist Williamson has attracted the ire of Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher, in the latter case because the cover artwork for their 2014 release 'Jobseeker' featured an image of the lesser-known Paul Gallagher, as well as Williamson's public derision of his more famous sibling, describing Noel as a 'secret Tory' and accusing him of deserting his working class roots.
Williamson's rage-fuelled, stream-of-consciousness vocal style has drawn comparisons to The Fall and John Cooper Clarke, with their last two albums, including 2014's Divide and Exit, helping to establish them as the unofficial voice for the disaffected and the downtrodden in modern, Conservative Britain.
Their eighth LP, Key Markets, hits the shelves today and it's every bit as sharp and barbarous as anything they've released so far. Here's everything you need to know about it...
Who's producing it?
Other than the artwork and the mastering, done by Steve Lippert and Alchemy's Matt Colton, everything else is done by Sleaford Mods themselves
Any special guests?
Although Jason Williamson has appeared as a guest himself in recent months on tracks by The Prodigy and Leftfield, on Key Markets it's just the two of them, doing what they do best.
What does it sound like?
Key Markets continues in the same vein as Austerity Dogs and Divide and Exit, although their more recent output has been gaining a steadily more polished sound to its production, which continues here. Don't worry though, this isn't Phil Spector producing the Ramones; all that raw energy is still palpable and Key Markets is anything but over-produced.
As ever, Williamson unloads his lyrical arsenal in typically frenetic fashion while Fearn's production is as fierce as ever – see the furious, grinding bassline and pounding drums on single 'No-One's Bothered', one of the album's highlights. Other standout moments include the equally frantic 'Giddy On The Ciggies', the Boris Johnson-ripping 'Rupert Trousers' and the relentless, pummelling thrust of 'Face To Faces'.
Does it deliver?
Key Markets isn't making any wholesale changes from the established Sleaford Mods formula, but that's a good thing and fans of their previous output will almost certainly be pleased to find that the new album is business as usual. For anyone new to the band who finds themselves bored by the current crop of new music filling the airwaves, Sleaford Mods are a refreshing blast of fresh air and while it might not be to everyone's taste and could never be described as radio-friendly, make no mistake – this is one of the most essential acts around right now and if Key Markets is anything to go by, long may that continue