Raw, real and humorous...

The story of Sleaford Mods is as fascinating as the duo’s body of work, musically they never fail to surprise. Questioning and topical, their urge to push forward has earned Britain’s punk duo popularity and commercial success.

Although success often brings its own set of challenges, it can raise questions about the ‘legitimacy’ to explore themes of social injustice and political disillusion, but Jason Williamson isn’t scared to address such considerations in public.

Arrangements became slicker and production values were brought up a step as seen on their last two album releases ‘Eton Alive’ and ‘English Tapas’. However, Sleaford Mods remain true, there’s an honesty, an openness that is part of their authenticity.

The release of compilation ‘All That Glue’ comes at the right time. A career-spanning selection of twenty-two tracks represent the last seven years focusing on special moments showing the force of the lyricism and relevance. Williamson remains one of music’s adept poetic swearers in a space where humour becomes the means, not just to entertainment, but thought provocation and stimulation.

Opening the comp with ‘McFlurry’ and ‘Snake It’ set the scene. ‘Fizzy’ takes us back to ‘Austerity Dogs’ from 2013. It provides an unflattering portrayal of a previous manager Williamson worked for and has no reason to respect. The monotony of dead-end jobs, the mundanity of working class life are explored. Hypnotic effects represent the increased need for escape, and the Joy Division-influenced rhythms are effective.

‘Blog Maggot’ suggests why the Tories aren’t due for brownie points consideration, and ‘Rich List’ jumps to current times. Musically it’s a genuine statement where a hip hop beat arrangement supports a critique of celebrity and sycophantic media outlets. “People don’t seem bothered/Patience wearing thin/The rich list gettin’ bigger/They know how to rub it in. The papers they should take the piss but they just join in”, Williamson states.

The decision to make ‘Jobseeker’ available for the first time will delight fans, and the track shows Sleaford Mods playing to their absolute strengths. A below average jobcentre experience that many will recognise shows how a use of direct, present tense speech makes everything incredibly real, too real for some, perhaps.

Sharp, autonomous articulation combined with Andrew Fearn’s edgy, unpolished beats remain key drivers in Sleaford Mods land. Raw, real and humorous, ‘All That Glue’ is an important event delivering a conclusive overview of the duo’s achievements and successes at a time when there’s a real thirst for it.

8/10

Words: Susan Hansen

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