In the fight against lockdown lethargy, Sleaford Mods are playing a vital role. Just as Bez has started his series of online fitness classes, so Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn are taking on the complacency, that ennui that may completely engulf us. 'We're all so Tory tired and beaten by minds small...' they announce on opener 'The New Brick'. We have never needed this band as much as we do now.
However, 'Spare Ribs' is not a call to arms, it is not shouting instructive slogans (...it can only be a matter of time before IDLES write songs called 'Don't Run With Scissors' or 'Look Both Ways When You Cross The Road'), it's far more incisive and wittier than that. The bitter hilarity of 'Shortcummings' will still have resonance long after the risible former adviser to the PM has faded from memory.
And that's the beauty of Williamson's lyrics, you don't need to know the identity of the 'class tourist' or who the person that's '...stood outside the high-rise trying to act like a gangster' on single 'Nudge It' may actually be. This much-observed posing and pretence is deserving of a much overdue piss-take. And that's Jason's job.
'Nudge It' and 'Mork n Mindy' are the first Mod singles to feature guest vocals (Amy Taylor of Amyl and the Sniffers and Billy Nomates, respectively). Amy's swaggering couplet elevates the former into one of their greatest singles, whilst Billy Nomates takes care of the choruses on the latter, her punkish sneer balanced against one of Williamson's quirkiest tales.
'Spare Ribs' sees Sleaford Mods expanding their musical palate like never before. Andrew Fearn's soundtracks vary from the dirty bass of the remarkable 'Out There' to the electro-punk of the title track. The standout though is the haunted keyboards of closer 'Fishcakes', that compliments Williamson's lonely vocal.
Early enthusiasm about this being Sleaford Mods finest work to date may not be an exaggeration. It's their most focussed record since the breakthrough 'Divide and Exit'. It's the sound to stir you from your sofa slumber. It's time for that workout.
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