Best albums of 2017 #9 Sleaford Mods – English Tapas

Released on Rough Trade.

When I first came into contact with Sleaford Mods scabrous, dystopian world view some time in 2013 it was easy to dismiss it as purely satirical: spat out at a hundred miles an hour, Jason Williamson’s breathless rants about the English condition on songs like Jobseeker felt like contemptuous parodies, things that only happened in nightmares.

And then goddamit it all started to come true. One by one the grotesque charachters they gleefully assembled like zombie-Frankensteins crawled out of the primordial sludge that is austerity Britain, monsters that belong to a culturally deadened era of scummy deeds, done by scummy people, done for scummy reasons dressed up like dolls in lies and justified with false flag crypto reasoning.

Together with long-term creative partner Andrew Fearn, Williamson has turned Sleaford Mods into a profane voice of minority conscience, their music as real on English Tapas as the ghouls who haunt it, from attention junkie celebrities to their old foil Boris Johnson.

Predictably the duo had few, if any, answers with which to temper the despair and frustration, but although far from an olive branch, English Tapas is their most ambitious work yet, its creative fury built on the combat ready heft of grime.

What have the last four years taught us? Not much it seems. Williamson and Fearn have realised that sometimes the craziest people talk the most sense, fucked up messiahs carrying modern-day tablets of stone in between their ears, truths we choose to ignore. Some of those revelations are here: the rest they might leave us to figure out for ourselves. Imagine what we might know tomorrow.