The Magic Whip
What are Sleaford Mods angry about? What have you got?
Who are they? Sleaford Mods are the Lincolnshire duo of Jason Williamson (hoarse raps, insatiable rage) and Andrew Fearn (a bit of guitar, bass, cheap keyboards), and Divide And Exit is a bilious state-of-the-nation address, a disgusted resumé of the many evils and hypocrisies currently afflicting this sceptic isle.
Over a ramshackle, rudimentary post-punk hugely reminiscent of the earliest work of The Fall, Williamson spits out laser-eyed social commentary and scabrous asides in a guttural Midlands slur. It’s society as viewed from the bottom of the pile, and its anger and invective could grate if they were not so brilliantly targeted and fantastically righteous.
Sounding like John Cooper Clarke afflicted by both anger-management issues and Tourette’s Syndrome, Williamson takes aim at zero-hours jobs, hipsters, keyboard warriors and a Britain increasingly defined by entitlement that leaves the working class and underclass to rot: “We are caged, trying to pick preferences out of the unlucky bin,” as he rages on Strike Force.
Williamson’s disgust and loathing is so wide-ranging that he could easily be dismissed as a misanthrope if he did not clearly have a functioning moral compass, and care so deeply for the sorry lot of the dispossessed. In Rags To Richards, he is railing at “Local media and posh suburban wankers”; Smithy attacks the class tourists who “get a quick giggle out of the unfortunate drinking holes of the lower classes”.
Others to feel the brunt of his ire include, splendidly, Sir Paul McCartney, Kasabian, Chumbawumba (“They weren’t political, they were just crap”), the royals and East Midland Mainline, but he saves his finest vitriol for the most deserving causes, summoning up a tremendous turn of phrase to describe an EDL rally: “Thousands of Saturday lager-bellies punching the air, denouncing the value of somebody else’s flag while viciously believing in theirs. F***ing useless.”
Divide And Exit sounds like Shaun Ryder fronting Crass, and it is absolutely brilliant.