Sleaford Mods, the Nottingham post-punk duo, is back with their seventh album, ‘UK Grim,’ which follows up their universally-acclaimed career-high, ‘Spare Ribs.’ Assisted by members of Jane’s Addiction and Dry Cleaning, the Mods take us on another aggy but colorful cruise of our crisis-weary isle.
The opening track ‘UK Grim’ sets the tone of the album with frontman Jason Williamson spitting, “I’ve got crisis stamina.” The album is a decade to the year that the duo started to break through with 2013’s aptly-titled ‘Austerity Dogs.’ On this album, the Mods bring more color to their sound with multi-instrumentalist Andrew Fearn adding new depths to his compositions.
‘On The Ground’ threatens the dancefloor, while ‘Smash Each Other Up’ sounds like West Coast hip-hop made in the East Midlands. ‘Right Wing Beast’ is a ska-pop attack on the powers that be, and ‘So Trendy’ with A-listers like Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro is a playful electro-bounce and takedown of internet culture.
There’s plenty of rage on the album with the junglist fury of ‘Tory Kong’ and ‘D.I.Why,’ a middle finger to keyboard warrior punk scene copyists. However, there’s also a great deal of heart, introspection, and subtlety. ‘I Claudius’ sees Williamson reminiscing his childhood at Christmas in the late ’70s, and ‘Apart From You’ has a yearning not often associated with Mods. ‘Force 10 From Navarone,’ assisted by Dry Cleaning’s Florence Shaw, is an ode to struggling to keep your head above the water in these wretched times.
The album closes with the ironically blissed-out tones of ‘Rhythms Of Class,’ leaving you feeling like you’re cruising through Brexit Britain with the top down. Williamson’s lyrical muse hasn’t changed much over the last decade, with less kitchen-sink melodrama and more dumpster fire shithousery. However, the more the gloom becomes normalized, the more we need a band like Sleaford Mods to fight back.
In conclusion, ‘UK Grim’ is a vital album that takes us on an aggressive and colorful cruise of crisis-weary Britain. The Mods’ unique sound and Williamson’s unapologetic lyrics make this album a must-listen for anyone who wants to experience the true essence of punk.