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Sleaford Mods - Spare Ribs (Album Review)

Wednesday, 20 January 2021 Written by Alex Myles

If there’s one word that encapsulates Sleaford Mods’ ‘Spare Ribs’, it’s ‘bleak.’ A 21st century plague has intensified the worst qualities of this island and in case this wasn’t kick-in-the-balls obvious, vocalist Jason Williamson plainly spells it out for us in his characteristic Midlands sprechgesang. 

Times like these should be fertile ground for the abrasive electro-punk brand of the Nottingham duo but ‘Spare Ribs’ is an album that leaves the listener fatigued and unsatisfied, despite some enjoyable moments.

Firstly, it is nice to hear Andrew Fearn’s production diversify somewhat. There are welcome features from Amy Taylor (Amyl & The Sniffers) and Billy Nomates, and influence taken from the hyper avant-pop of Charli XCX and dark Burial-style dubstep on tracks Out There and I Don’t Rate You.  

And amid Williamson’s overwhelmingly depressing themes, his swearier lyrics provide some much-needed amusement.

“I wish I had the time to be a wanker just like you,” he sneers on Elocution, directed towards the music industry’s top brass. “Wifi’s gone all lo-fi, my arse is feeling too dry,” is just one of his wry takeaways from our permanently online existence on Mork n Mindy. 

If you were to make a checklist of everything that could cause ire with contemporary Britain, each track on ‘Spare Ribs’ crosses them off. A familiar austerity-fuelled frustration underpins takes on insufferable politicians (Short Cummings), unsparing lockdowns (Top Room) and homelessness (Spare Ribs), to name a few of its targets.

But even with Fearn’s more detailed production and Williamson’s mordant affectations, some angry lads telling us how awful things are feels a tad redundant. This is a band that likes to cause arguments and point fingers at post-punk contemporaries who, according to the Mods, are less qualified to tread socio-political territory. When listening to an album as uninteresting as ‘Spare Ribs’ that stance feels a tad rich.

Sleaford Mods Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed November 17 2021 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Thu November 18 2021 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Sun November 21 2021 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Wed November 24 2021 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 Academy Newcastle
Thu November 25 2021 - LIVERPOOL O2 Academy Liverpool
Fri November 26 2021 - OXFORD O2 Academy Oxford
Sat November 27 2021 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
Tue November 30 2021 - CARDIFF Tramshed
Wed December 01 2021 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Thu December 02 2021 - LONDON Printworks
Fri December 03 2021 - BRIGHTON Brighton Dome

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