Sleaford Mods have made a name for themselves as the stripped-back sound of austerity Britain. Over minimal laptop beats courtesy of Andrew Fearn, lead agitator Jason Williamson has marked out his turf as part Mark E Smith of cult post-punkers The Fall and part foul-mouthed John Betjeman in the body of a This Is England extra. His words – and there are lots and lots of words – don’t sugar-coat. They are at turns funny, bleak and furious, taking to task big business, the government and rubbish indie bands with equal amounts of glee and derision.
‘English Tapas’ is the Nottingham duo’s first album on the Rough Trade label, named after they spotted the phrase on a pub menu advertising a platter of chips, a scotch egg, a mini pork pie and some pickle. “It says everything about this f**king place,” said Williamson. “It’s comedy, it’s make-do, it’s ignorant and above all, it’s s**t.” British s**tness finds itself at the centre of this 11-track collection, from the takedown of Sir Philip Green, his super-yacht and disregard for workers on ‘BHS’ to sneering mentions of Snapchat, selfies and Superdry on ‘Snout’. In fact, no one is safe from Williamson’s scorn. The doomy ‘Dull’ even has a pop at us. “Try scrolling down the website of the NME / Without laughing / I’ll give you ten quid if you can keep a straight face,” he rants. Sorry you’re not into it, babes.
Their stark sound might not be for everyone, but Williamson’s sideways swipes at pop culture and his own big nights out are as hypnotic as Fearn’s punked-up electronica which, despite its simplicity, is nigh impossible not to move to. Never stop being p**sed off guys – because it just sounds far too excellent when you’re in a mood.