Sleaford Mods - Austerity Dogs
Harbinger Sound. Harbinger 106. LP
‘You’ve got to be able to sell yourself so I stuck my life on eBay. £25 mate.’
Its about time that these shores had some decent working class music to cling to. Proper working class music with an edge and a vitality, a wit and wisdom all of its own. Something that those stuck in a hopeless job can relate to and use as inspiration, something to shove right up the gaffers arsehole. This rampant consumerist, downtrodden, tits up, coalition led, recession stuck nation needs the Sleaford Mods like no band that ever went before. Really needs them.
‘Do you think riding around on a BMX is going to make me feel intimidated?’
I saw them play in March earlier this year. In Nottingham of course which is where they have now settled and from where they rarely venture. Jason Williamson writes the lyrics, Andrew Fearn mans the lap top, the pair of them share vocals with Williamson getting the lions share. Its a simple set up stripped to the basics, a hammering bass riff coupled to a series of rapid programmed beats. Its all you need. Everything is in the delivery though, lines are delivered in the northern vernacular, each line spat out in rapid succession, each song starts and ends the same, once the bass loop is there it pummels away until the song ends and then in a split second the next one takes its place. Fearn chips in with the odd line, there's the odd three note keyboard solo to fill in the gaps and that's about it.
‘Moving up in the world don’t mean using the lift mate’.
‘Austerity Dogs’ is [I think] a gathering together of cuts from several earlier Sleaford Mod releases with a few new tracks thrown in for good measure. Twelve tracks in all, each one destined for greatness. ‘Urine Mate, Welcome To The Club’ sets the tone with a rap intro by local Forest lad John Paul that mentions the ‘the cunts in the armed labelled coats, looking at me like they want to slit my fucking throat’ … ‘anyway I’m enjoying mesen’ before it all kicks off with the single word ‘Spectre’ which will mean absolutely nothing to anybody living outside Britain, there are no apologies to those who can not unravel the inner workings of the northern working class language, this is as raw as its possible to get, no concessions are made, its one of their greatest strengths.
‘Another pub burnt to the ground, I hated those fucking Motown nights anyway, its like Jive Bunny meets Lucy fucking Pinder … on ice’.
And there has to be wit of course because when you’re at the bottom of the pile you have to be able to laugh.
‘Brian Eno what the fuck does he know? with his alien haircut’.
By now I’m trying to think of comparisons, maybe the delivery of John Cooper Clarke, Steve Ignorant, Ian Dury, the pumping bass riffs of The Fall, the cheap synth beats of The Normal [as heard on Five Pound Sixty] but its the richness of the lyrics which linger. Some of it makes no sense at all, stream of consciousness, words repeated, ‘wobble, wobble, wobble’ 'I don't like puddings' and then gems like this on ‘Fizzy’ spat out at a rapid rate:
‘The cunt with the gut and the Buzz Lightyear haircut calling all the workers plebs, you better think about your future, you better think about your neck, you better think about the shit hairdo you got mate, I work my dreams off for two bits of ravioli and a warm bottle of Smirnoff under a manager that doesn’t have a clue, do you want me to tell you what I think about you cunt? I don’t think that's a very good idea do you? You pockmarked shit fitting shirt, white Converse and a taste for young girls, don’t send me home with a glint in my eye I told my family about your wage rise ……
… and then a tourettes like burst of the single word ‘fizzy’ delivered as if to a dog that’s just shat on the laminate.
I want to wax lyrical about it all, about how its filled me with the realisation that there's still a rich stream of truly creative people making music that represents the working class, about how this release has cheered me up no end, about how its put the North back on the map, about how tracks like My Jampandy, McFlurry, Shit Streets Runny, The Wage Don't Fit and Don't Wanna Disco Or Two will all become classics. But I fear I'm not up to the magnitude of the task.
One of the few bands worth following. Clasp them to your hearts for they are your only saviors.
Not sure when this is officially available [I have a test press to go on - Second Layer will no doubt get copies when it arrives] but in the meantime there’s plenty of Sleaford Mods on the web. This is 'Double Diamond' which isn’t on this album. Its all kicking off in Notts ...