Sleaford Mods: Eton Alive review – damning details of life on a frayed isle

(Extreme Eating)
Always recognisable and always evolving, Andrew Fearn and Jason Williamson’s barked social snapshots turn melodic

Sleaford Mods’ frontman Jason Williamson recently revealed that lately he’s been listening to Alexander O’Neal, Chaka Khan and Luther Vandross, although the Nottinghamshire duo haven’t suddenly gone soul or R&B.

However, Andrew Fearn’s backing tracks are forever evolving and are a fair distance from 2013’s breakthrough, Austerity Dogs. The terrific Kebab Spiders is powered by two alternate basslines: one sounds like the sort of thing the great James Jamerson used to lay down for Motown and the other is clubbier, almost Belgian new beat. The brooding OBCT could be Depeche Mode or the Cure, until Williamson comes in and it includes, of all things, a kazoo solo. The highly melodic When You Come Up to Me, meanwhile, would be a lost 80s new romantic synth ballad were it delivered in any other voice. As ever, though, it’s Williamson’s trademark bark – a caustic, observant, irritant, unforgiving mix of John Cooper Clarke and Mark E Smith – which renders the Mods instantly recognisable. They are increasingly, as John Peel said of the Fall: “Always different, always the same.”

Related: ‘Life is chaotic!’ Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson answers your questions

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