Hailed as the new voice of Britain's disaffected working class, this angry duo are riding high in the chartsby Serena Kutchinsky / August 11, 2015 / Leave a comment
Sleaford Mods shouldn’t be successful. They make an uncompromising hybrid of hip-hop and punk. They rant about politics in a coarse stream of consciousness. They are both in their forties, which is pushing it to be considered hip. Their lyrics are distinctively doom-laden and their stage presence is best described as swaggering. But somehow, it works.
It’s been a gradual rise for Jason Williamson, 44, and his partner Andrew Fearn, 43, with several stints on the dole, countless crap jobs and a minor drug habit along the way. Now, the Nottingham-based duo are enjoying critical and commercial success—their Glastonbury Festival performance was among the top five most shared clips on BBC iPlayer, and their new album, the intriguingly titled Key Markets, has just reached number 10 in the UK album charts. The critics have lined up to lavish praise on this, their third studio offering, with Q Magazine calling it “the finest album of its kind since (The Streets’) Original Pirate Material” and The Independent predicting that it will “catapult them into the mainstream”. On the record Williamson rails against the duplicity of modern party politics and spits insults at the liberal elite in a broad Midlands accent, while Fearn uses simple loops and drum-heavy basslines to craft an electronic interpretation of the punk sound they grew up with.
Sleaford Mods’ increasingly broad appeal suggests that in this age of austerity, with traditional political structures increasingly under scrutiny and a resurgent left-wing movement looking likely to propel Jeremy Corbyn to the helm of the Labour Party, there is an audience for a band pushing a more socially conscious sound. But are they as politically savvy as their lyrics might suggest, or is it all an affectation of working class rage designed to generate headlines? I sat down with Williamson to find out.
Everyone in music is talking about your surprise success, while everyone in politics is talking about Jeremy Corbyn’s rise from obscurity to become the frontrunner in the Labour leadership race. Do you think he would make a good party leader?