Sleaford Mods show they're in tune with austerity-era Britain on new album Eton Alive

Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods are one of those acts who really polarise opinion; most people either love them or absolutely can’t stand them.

Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 10:18 am
Updated Sunday, 24th February 2019, 14:32 pm
Sleaford Mods Eton Alive (Extreme Eating)

I admit to being in the latter camp when I first heard them. I thought they offered nothing new and wasn’t impressed by a radgey bloke shouting while his mate sipped cans and pressed a button on a laptop.

However, my attitude towards the Mods has softened a bit, and I appreciate that Jason Williamson is one of the few modern artists to have broken into the mainstream while ranting against the system, rather than being just another bland pop star.

Sleaford Mods

This is their fifth album of minimalist electro-punk, and their first on beatmaker Andrew Fearn’s Extreme Eating label, after their departure from famed indie Rough Trade, and it’s not at all bad.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

They’re still abrasive, they still have plenty to say about austerity-era Britain and working class life in general, with scathing assessments of popular culture, capitalism and the state of Britain in 2019 .

The lyric “I’ve got two brown bins, should I only have one, but what the council don’t know, won’t hurt them” on Policy Cream sums up their everyman appeal.

And they’re funny, casually throwing out snarky put-downs like “[Blur guitarist]Graham Coxon looks like a left-wing Boris Johnson” on Flipside.

On Negative Script, the now-clean Williamson harks back to his days as a self-confessed caner when he reflects “I favoured being out of it, but I got tricked by my tiny mind.”

While they’re undoubtedly an acquired taste, Sleaford Mods have toured with The Specials and collaborated with the likes of The Prodigy and Leftfield, so they must be doing something right.

* A 33-date tour to promote Eton Alive starts at the Boiler Shop in Newcastle on Friday, March 1.