Sleaford Mods - English Tapas
Having skirted on the fringes of the indie scene circling ever closer to the mainstream, Sleaford Mods unleash their follow up to 2015’s Key Markets. English Tapas is their first full length release on Rough Trade which is as close to a major record label as you would expect the Nottingham duo to get. With their ninth studio album, and after countless EPs, at first glance it's business as usual. The album title taken from a pub menu board - English tapas being half a scotch egg, a cup of chips, pickle and a mini pork pie - this sums up the sentiment and lyrical theme of the album. Previous efforts have taken a vicious and bitter view of the world today using swearing as punctuation and aiming their sights on Boris Johnson and Russell Brand, while English Tapas does not rid itself of these barbed attacks it has injected more of a melancholic sadness about the decline of the modern world around them and created a much wider scope.
Sonically, this isn't that different to previous efforts with it’s simplistic drum patterns, bass work that veers towards Joy Division and PIL, and cheap synth patterns that wouldn’t be out of place on an early John Carpenter soundtrack. In less capable hands, it could extremely tedious very quickly but it is the anchor that is Jason Williamson that's always made Sleaford Mods a compelling listen; with his punk/hip-hop/spoken word lyrics and delivery creating an unholy lovechild of Mark E. Smith, John Cooper-Clarke, and Ol Dirty Bastard. Highlights include album opener ‘Army Nights’ and the mind-numbing schedule of work/pub/club/sleep/repeat, the beard stroking hipster baiting intro of ‘Just Like We Do’, the dilemma and paranoia of ‘Drayton Manored’ about where to get another couple of cheap cans at the end of a long night, and lead single ‘B.H.S.’ with its refrain “We’re going down like B.H.S. while the able-bodied vultures monitor and pick at us”.
With English Tapas Sleaford Mods have created uniquely British music that is a true reflection of modern British society taking its aim at politics, celebrity and social media culture, and the sedated apathy that has eroded and seeped into the general public. In their eyes, it is easier to load up on cheap beer and bar snacks than to rebel, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to pray for anarchy” they plead on ‘Carlton Touts’, but with their Sleaford Mods swagger they make damn sure that the rebellion is not forgotten.