Review
Sleaford Mods
Key Markets

Harbinger Sound (2015) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Sleaford Mods – Key Markets cover artwork
Sleaford Mods – Key Markets — Harbinger Sound, 2015

"worker bees can leave
even drones can fly away
the queen is their slave"
- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

When people talk about music (assuming people actually do still talk about music), they'll typically begin by discussing the style or genre they like. If the other person then hasn't begun silently searching for Buzzfeed lists and the conversation continues, it can go in any number of directions - favorite bands, lyrical content, whether or not Dave Grohl has played with them. But the one topic that is rarely discussed - the one bit of criteria often overlooked, is the honesty of the music.

I'm not talking honesty in the contrived, manipulative sense. I'm talking about a complete lack of pretension - a warts and all presentation of who the artists are and what they're all about. Artists that lay themselves on the slab to conduct a kind of aural autopsy for the listener.

Sleaford Mods are this type of artist. Hailing from the UK - Nottingham, to be precise, vocalist Jason Williamson and his band of merry-man, Andrew Fearn have managed to cut a wide swath through the underground with their blend of minimalist hip-hop and punk vitriol. Their latest release, aptly named Key Markets should take them closer to the golden pint of success that would seem to be calling their name.

Sleaford Mods have been toiling in the mines since 2007, but it's only in the last year and a half that the establishment has taken notice, having appeared on The Prodigy's latest album as well as a seemingly new write-up in various publications every week.

That's not to say Key Markets is a softer touch, mind you. One listen to tracks like "Rupert Trousers" or "Cunt Make It Up" and you'll find the edges to be as jagged as ever. All the usual targets are there only the knives are now thrown with surgical precision. If you get name-checked in a Sleaford Mods song, you fucked up big-time.

This sounds predictable, I know. Angry hip-hop is not a new concept by any means. But what makes it fresh is the genuineness of the anger. These are not millionaires and complaining about not liking the sour milk taste of the tit they refuse to remove their greedy lips from. This is pure, unfiltered working class. Sleaford Mods show an honest sense of frustration with the employers, the politicians and the new-feudal system as a whole that seems designed to grind their serfs into the dirt. Mass production of the huddled masses. But like their musical peers, they don't whine about it. They rally against it. They fight. And right now, God bless 'em, they're winning.

Sleaford Mods – Key Markets cover artwork
Sleaford Mods – Key Markets — Harbinger Sound, 2015

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