Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Sleaford Mods once again come packing socially conscious and politically-driven vitriol on UK Grim

"UK Grim"

Release date: 10 March 2023
Sleaford mods uk grim art
07 March 2023, 07:00 Written by Dave Beech

Sleaford Mods are a band who have always divided opinion.

While the duo’s combination of stark, minimalistic production and aggressive yet socially conscious lyricism has always earned them critical acclaim, there has been criticism levelled at the band for being one-dimensional and never deviating from blueprints formed back in 2007.

It’s a fair criticism to make. Sleaford Mods found their sound early, carving out their own niche and occupying it with a militant staunchness across the course of soon-to-be 12 albums. And taking their music at face value, such criticisms would be right. Dig beneath the rudimentary production and frontman Jason Williamson’s colloquial delivery, however, and you’ll find some of the most important political and social commentaries of the last 15 years.

Everyone knows the saying “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it”, and it’s easy to imagine Williamson incorporating this into a chorus or bridge. Of course, Sleaford’s setup isn’t broken. What is, however, is the country’s current social and political climate, though not perhaps in the way the government would have one believe. And for that matter, UK Grim is just as vital as any of the previous Sleaford Mods’ records that have come before it.

14 tracks of socially conscious and politically-driven vitriol, it’s pretty much business as usual across the duo’s twelfth album. This time, however, the piss and vinegar feel in full flow. And well it might. A lot has changed in the two years since their last release, and not for the better. As such Williamson has plenty to unpack across UK Grim’s hour-long run time, and even more to be pissed off about.

Opening with the eponymous title track, it’s clear that age isn’t mellowing the two-piece. There are Crass-esque bass-and-drum driven punk offerings in the form of "Tilldipper" and "Pit 2 Pit", while the likes of "DI-WHY" and "Don" are darker and more considered offerings that allow Williamson’s lyricism to take centre stage.

There are occasions on which Andrew Fearn’s production does diversify from its usual bare-bones composition, however. "On the Ground" is a glitchy somewhat erratic number that still succeeds in harbouring a rare sense of melody. Likewise, ‘Apart From You’ feels more fleshed out than other offerings also. A moody bass paired against clean keys and understated guitar provides a fuller backdrop for Williamson’s ire.

Of course, though there are moments when UK Grim feels more three-dimensional than previous records. It’s still very much a Sleaford Mods record, and as such will do little to sway anyone who isn’t already a fan of the band. That said, those with even a passing interest in the band could do far worse than spending some time with what already feels like one of the year’s vital releases.

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