The UK is a country in crisis, plagued by political turmoil, economic strife, and societal decay. Two years have passed since Sleaford Mods last graced us with their presence, but their twelfth album, UK Grim, is a blistering indictment of the state of the nation. With the urgency and intensity of the punk rock bands of the 1970s, an era defined by strikes, political corruption and extreme poverty. The duo sets the scene five decades on from the heroes of punk, to lament a country which has not changed on opening track “UK Grim ” with the piercing line “because in England nobody can hear you scream. You’re just fucked, lads.”
On “Smash Each Other Up,” the duo takes aim at the ruling politicians and their devious right-wing narrative about leveling up deprived areas, but lacking the will to change them.
Sleaford Mods have enlisted the help of kindred spirits on this album, including Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction on “So Trendy,” a searing critique of our addiction to technology. Meanwhile, “Force Ten From Navarone” features Florence Shaw from Dry Cleaning posing the existential question “why does the darkness elope?”
The instrumentals on UK Grim have evolved with an array of influences that are even more varied and hollow as ever, ranging from punk to barbed electronics to haunted hip hop. The subjects tackled in the lyrics are equally diverse, from robbing the till at work to an addict reminiscing about drugs to an admission of loneliness on “Apart From You.” On “I Claudius,” lead singer Jason Williamson delves into his own childhood, reminiscing about Adam Ant on TV wearing a Superman sweatshirt.
In a world where music is often reduced to 15-second TikTok videos, Sleaford Mods are a refreshing breath of fresh air. They embody the spirit of the protest bands of punk’s heyday. But, the biggest takeaway has been Williamson’s evolution as a writer. These are not just simply protest songs, they are something more meaningful. And, in these dark, grim times, we need more bands like this to speak truth to power and inspire change.
Pre-order UK Grim by Sleaford Mods HERE
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