Sleaford Mods – UK GRIM

Scabrous, hard-hitting and essential...

Sleaford Mods have to be one of the most consistent music acts out there. When it comes to their sonic approach for their latest album ‘UK GRIM’, the Nottingham duo continue their winning formula of irascible yet sagacious insights on life in the UK.

Sleaford Mods are no strangers to holding back and this certainly rings true when it comes to ‘UK GRIM’, their twelfth studio album. Naturally, there’s an abundance of scathing anger, punk puissance and formidable energy, but there’s also poignant introspection and subtly too which can be found on tracks like ‘Apart From You’ with its enigmatic bassline which sounds almost Depeche Mode-esque which talks of trying to navigate your way in life when times are tough and “the waiting rooms are cold”.

There’s also insight into Williamson’s childhood Christmas with his “Superman sweatshirt” on watching his “wooden TV” and seeing Santa Claus with a “bag of chips” on ‘I Claudius’, but there’s also the quintessential Sleaford Mods humour in there with the pertinent question “Does he eat though, Dad?!” 

When it comes to tracks like ‘Tory Kong’ and ‘Right Wing Beast’, it’s a case of less subtlety and more of a sledgehammer approach with a flurry of furious and scathing observations about the political establishment with pithy lines like “You are all getting mugged by the aristocracy…”

With delectable punchy, acerbic soundbites from vocalist Jason Williamson fused with the stark, minimalistic production from Andrew Fearn with an absolute sucker punch with an immersive fusion of samplers and synths, ‘UK GRIM’ delivers some of the most eminent and vital social and political commentaries of their career so far.

Despite the wearying subject matter, Jason Williamson serves his lyrics up sagely and with urgency in the most succinct, punchy and slightly surrealist manner.

The album features collaborations with Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction on ‘So Trendy’ which talks about the UK’s obsessions with their mobile phones and Florence Shaw from Dry Cleaning on ‘Force Ten From Navarone’ which poses the question “why does the darkness elope?” whilst you are encouraged to “hang on to the cable car Force Ten From Navarone.”

The eponymous title track comes in like a juggernaut with Fearn’s menacing beats and foreboding bass lines whilst Williamson snarls lines like “tanks that boil in a bag… Vladimir’s got his top off”. Jason Williamson with his astute and discerning delivery is compelling and electrifying, especially with the ultimate line “In England no one can hear you scream, you’re just fucked lads!”

Instinctual, acerbic and erudite, ‘UK GRIM’ is stark and enthralling all in one. 


Words: Emma Harrison

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