Arguably one of Britain’s most divisive bands, Sleaford Mods have been painting portraits of a broken Britain since their inception in 2007. Combining minimal electronica with inventive expletives and astute social commentary, the duo manage to turn imagery that would otherwise feel depressing and downtrodden into something humorous and often painfully familiar.
T.C.R, the band's third EP and first release following their recent signing to Rough Trade, is pretty much business as usual, with frontman Jason Williamson far from sparing with his piss and vinegar musings. Reserving most of his ire for a certain type of working class male, tracks such as the titular "T.C.R", "Dad's Corner" and "You're A Nottshead" are all more than happy to discuss and dissect those who've carved their own rut, and are content to live out their life in it. And while though the lyrics might well be delivered with Williamson's wry wit, you can't help but notice the emphasis has shifted away from the socio-politics of earlier records.
The one exception is "Britain Thirst", which as you might expect, sees Williamson's venomous delivery turned towards the establishment. It's familiar territory for the band, but in a time when British politics seems intent not just in maintaining, but actively widening the class divide, those being shat on need a mouthpiece like Williamson. However eloquent he isn't.
While the aesthetic will be familiar two anyone who's heard the band before, the production on it does feel both glossier, and somewhat darker; both "Britain Thirst" and "You're a Nottshead" feel musically more complex than previous offerings, and throb with a brooding intensity.
Unfortunately, T.C.R just feels like Sleaford Mods playing it a little...safe - a word I wouldn't ever have associated with them, unless being greeted by Jason. Far from being a bad release, it just does little to break the mould the band themselves set. It is however, a stopgap between albums, and there's been a conscious effort to shake up their production. Let's just hope their next release sees those changes fully realised.