Music, Reviews

Sleaford Mods ‘All That Glue’ review: a necessary album for fans and newcomers alike

| |

If not for the Covid-19 pandemic which has shut down live performance around the world, May 2020 would be the perfect time for Sleaford Mods to release a compilation album. This is because they have been getting increasingly popular with each album release, which is largely due to word of mouth following their blistering live shows. They managed to get their first Australian tour in before the Covid-19 shutdown but their US tour has been postponed.

Sleaford Mods have been called the “voice of Britain” for the age of austerity and they are also the sound of modern Britain. They combine a punk sensibility with mostly minimalist electronica. A modern punk band with guitars a la The Sex Pistols would be unlikely to produce the same effect.  They are also more articulate than many punks. Sleaford Mods founder Jason Williamson’s attitude to popular music is summed up in the 2017 documentary about the band, Bunch of Kunst.

“Young people are signing major record deals and they just sing about love,” he says. “I’m a great believer in love. But for fuck’s sake, there’s a lot going on! Who wants to hear that if you are on £15 a week? And you turn the telly on and some fucker is spouting on about love.“

All that Glue contains some of their hard-to-find early singles that remain live favourites. Jolly Fucker and Jobseeker are both included and would feature on any Mods fan’s “best of”. Williamson began Sleaford Mods in Nottingham in 2007 but he says that the band was a different entity before Andrew Fearn joined him in 2012. All the material on All that Glue comes from the Williamson/Fearn era and they have certainly honed their craft and indeed expanded their musical palate (although all their tunes are still immediately recognisably by Sleaford Mods).

All that Glue is most definitely a retrospective rather than a “best of” though. This is because seven of the 22 tracks are previously unreleased and there are some notable absences. Instead it serves as an overview of the evolution of their sound from the minimalist electro punk heard on the first few tracks, most notably McFlurry from 2013’s Austerity Dogsalbum and the ultra pissed off Fizzy through to the slow pulse of Tarantula Deadly Cargo from 2015’s Key Markets and finally the pop of When You Come Up to Me from last year’s masterpiece Eton Alive.

Most of the early era songs have been remastered with some of the rough edge taken off the vocals. This helps the listener catch all Williamson’s spitfire lyrics especially on Jolly Fucker and Jobseeker.

Some of the previously unreleased tracks are as good as anything in their catalogue. Blog Maggot is hilarious and biting and features a funkier groove than a lot of their material.  Rich List is a great tune and Second was released with a video as good as the song is. There are no frills at all on Second, just a simple groove but Williamson’s lyrics and delivery are inspired. The line “I’m in no state/just a state/for ranking!” blows your head off.

Other tracks the uninitiated should look out for are Tweet Tweet Tweet which has a cracking keyboard line that also adds to the comedic effect. Tied Up in Nottz is a band favourite and TCR is earworm material.

There are a few unnecessary inclusions on All that Glue – Revenue, Rochester and Reef of Grief are standard issue Mods – but overall this is a necessary album for serious fans, and a good one for people looking for a place to start with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *