Surely by now, you’ve made your mind up about Sleaford Mods?
If you like them, you don’t need this review to tell you Eton Alive is worth listening to. It’s possibly been released too early in the year to be remembered or ranked highly in the year end-polls but that won’t be a reflection of the songs on offer. If you don’t like them, you’ve probably stopped reading already, if you even started with the review.
Then again, I don’t do enough myself for myself these days so let’s press on and pretend as though music reviews actually matter.
One of the biggest strengths of the band is that they haven’t turned apathetic or given up. That’s the easy reaction these days, you see it in people shrugging their shoulders and saying they’re bored with Brexit. Good for you Janet, will you be as bored when you are stealing own-brand custard creams out of supermarket bins because you’ve lost your job and there’s no other way to feed yourself?
You see it in the reaction to the Brit Awards. It used to be that events like this would see lengthy rants and moans about how the kids and corporate suits don’t like proper music and how everything they recognise and reward is awful.
These days, it’s tough to gather enough breath to describe how tedious The 1975 and Calvin Harris are…so we don’t. It’s not that we don’t care…I hope it’s not that, it’s half what’s the point in moaning because nothing changes and half it’s probably me that’s out of touch, best not to say anything and expose myself as a daftie.
Meanwhile, the morons are chattering loudly and having a good time, oblivious to the fact that they are morons.
So…in that regard, it’s vital that we have Sleaford Mods but the music is more than a match for the jibes, the rhetoric and the rattling of cages that might just wake a few people up. In fact, if you are one of the non-followers who has stuck with the review up until now, it is the enhanced musical strength that may cause you to reconsider your stance on the act.
The insults, the attacks, the funny lines (to this day, any reference to eucalyptus results in the instant response of “you can fuck off”) are all still present. “Graham Coxon looks like a left-wing Boris Johnson” is one of the grander insults on the record and it may replace the image of David Walliams as a pyromaniac Coxon from Rock Profiles when I think about the Blur guitarist. All of the expected comments, the attacks on the Government, the weariness of the way people live their life and more, it’s all here.
However, they’re now set over more challenging, expansive and interesting musical accompaniment. Pre-album single Kebab Spider should have alerted people that more was going on, the beats providing an impetus to get up and do something, anything. Big Burt is another track that grabs you from the off and those listening on Spotify for free will no doubt feel it’s an advert before those distinctive vocals wander in. In a few years’ time, Big Burt will be hailed as one of your archetypal Sleaford Mods songs, anger and venom spitting over a smiling looping refrain that will be paying rent in your brain before too long.
Discourse, Subtraction, When You Come Up To Me and O.B.C.T. can all claim to be up there when it comes to the music matching Williamson’s rants…and by the end of it, you’ve realised Eton Alive has a quality of consistency throughout the record and you’ll play it all over again.
Britain remains shit, Sleaford Mods remain not shit, listen to them or not, it’s your choice but you’re an idiot if you don’t. To finish off by stealing and then paraphrasing from the man who made the world take notice of Nottingham, are Sleaford Mods the most important band in Britain today? It’s probably not for me to say but they are definitely in the top one.