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Music Moment: Sleaford Mods, “Divide and Exit”

08 May

Hello there!

So, yeah I’ve been away now for a couple of weeks, being wrapped up in exams and all sorts of fun times, having near public meltdowns and clusterfucks (Man, I completely forgot that this studying lark can be hard at times!), all to make sure I pass my subjects and ensure I get my LÍN funding for another semester.

But now i’m done and back in work for this summer. Yup I’m back at Össur, I´m even back at my old workstation. it’s almost like the last 4 months never actually happened! probably wasnt a great idea to go “screw you fuckers, I’m never coming back!” when I left in January. Oh well.

But it’s now back to the enjoyable world of blogging and pissing my verbiage across the screen. and I really think you should listen to this band, SLEAFORD MODS. Even though they’ve been going on now for nearly a decade, the first I’d even heard of this duo was a couple of months ago when their album, ‘Chubbed Up. The Singles Collection’ was reviewed by Marko “K-Punk” Fisher in the Wire (Obviously i have my finger on the musical pulse apparently). Reading about them, it seemed as if they were the angriest band in the world (and possibly all the other theoretical world out there as well). I thought that they must have been a hardcore punk band of summat.

A few weeks later, i managed to find their bandcamp page and gave it a spin…… bloody hell! Been a while since a band has made me sit up cat-like on my seat with eyes and ears wide open. Just the sheer energy and verbal attack in tracks like “14 Day Court,”  made me go, “what the fuck was that??”  I’m not going to go into a huge spiel on what they sound like and represent because since Mark’s review, they’ve been in the music media quite a lot, with features about them in the Guardian, NME, MOJO, The Quietus and The Talkhouse (I seriously recommend the talkhouse piece about them by Luke Haines as he describes them perfectly so i don’t have to). An online friend noted the worry he felt that they were being dragged along by a music-biz hype that could easily neuter their anger and then chew them up and spit them out when they’ve had their fun with them after 6 months. This is a definite possibility, but i think they’re too long in the tooth for that to happen like that. they’re just as likely to take a leaf out of Mark E smith’s notebook and say NO to as many offers of exposure as they say yes to.

But SLEAFORD MODS and their music has definitely flipped a big switch on in my head over the last few weeks. One possible reason is probably their look and their backgrounds. In the Quietus’ live review, Kev Kharas starts off with the following sentence.

England today must be a lonely place for men like Jason Williamson. It’s a country that just doesn’t seem designed for him any more; 40-ish working-class ex-mod, a face that looks built from belly gas and fag ash, too savvy for UKIP and too hard for steroids, too old for lad culture but too young for early nights [….] But for all that it’d be wrong to say that Williamson revels in misanthropy. He never seems to be enjoying himself enough for that. It’s more that he’s a man with a social conscience trapped in a society that hates him.

Shit, he could be writing about the likes of me there. SLEAFORD MODS’ music seems to magically articulate a soundtrack of what goes on in my head and think about when I see things before me ALL THE TIME. Culture, society, where you live, and just how shit life around you has become, you know all that stuff. After a while it can get you a bit down, as you start to think that no one else could possibly think this way. So the fact that they’ve come along the way they have has been a little Godsend for me, as it’s good to see I’m alone. And even though Williamson still bears the dapper neat traces of being an ex-mod, his partner in crime, Andrew Fearn, could have been airlifted from the town/estate where my mum and out family live, a place of Farmfood freezer shops, tanning salons, bargain booze bins and Wetherspoons watering holes, where just about every man under 50 is kitted out in a t-shirt, baseball cap, trainers and trackies (Or as we all called it, the Sports Direct uniform). As someone who still decks themselves out in Primark essentials, I approve of his sartorial style and approach. 

And now we have their new album, ‘Divide And Exit,’ and it’s that winning mix of spitfire stream-of-consciousness, with minimal made for purpose beat tracks full of hooks that are more subtle than you think. I’m glad these guys came alone the way they did as I was starting to feel slightly overwhelmed by the sheer comfortableness that surrounds me right now. I honestly don’t think that a band like this could really exist up here in Iceland alas. Oh, I’m sure that people would point to this or that punk band, or someone like Grisalappalisa or Muck for “angry” music. And true, their lyrics do talk about being angry at stuff in a poetic way, but for the best part there’s a certain vagueness to the thrust of their attacks, often sometimes merely being content in slyly taking the piss. But the mantra for living round here is that you need to “go along to get along” in a form of comfy chumminess, and very few of us round here could never reach this withering level of puce fucked-offness for fear of pissing of everyone around them.

As Haines points out “Sleaford Mods make Art because they have no choice. They refuse the middlebrow of the (oh so) conventional art scene. They are not “arty.”” SLEAFORD MODS are all about the music of refusal, the refusal to accept what is no longer acceptable to yourself anymore. If they were Icelandic, then they would be compelled take apart everything before them – Bankers, politicians, poncho flouncing 101 moms in coffee houses, the price of booze, living in the suburbs, iPhone apps, Airwaves, Sigur Rós, Harpa, shit shows on Stöð 2, Smelters, mobile phone companies, rotten fruit in the shops, Retro Stefson, comfortable “radical” art, Jón Gnarr, local fashionistas, OAP arseholes in the hotpots at the pool, knitting in the bus station, etc, etc, etc. If someone actually did even half of all this. then I could die happy. Would probably kill their career though!

So do us a favour and buy their albums at least, keep them in Stella for the new months. Cheers.

Goodnight…..

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2014 in music

 

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