on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2014 23 Mai

Sleaford Mods: Austerity Dogs

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog,Musik aus 2013 | TB | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Jason Williamson hat die Schnauze voll. Kann man mit so einer Wut, und den Mund voller Wörter, grossartige Lieder machen? Ja, kann man. Sogar fettarme Lieder. In dem Song „Fizzy“ schnappt er sich einfach dieses Wort, „Fizzy“, zerbeisst es, zerkaut es, zerlegt es. Und dann, am Ende, haut er noch ein unübersetzbares letztes verächtliches Stöhnen raus, pure unheitere Emotion. (An dieser Stelle gilt es, kurz Einhalt zu gebieten. Leute, die meinen Musikgeschmack nur relativ oberflächlich kennen, würden nie denken, dass ich ein Loblied auf solche Songs singen würde. Sich von meiner Begeisterung anstecken zu lassen, geschieht also auf eigene Gefahr. Ausserdem sample ich hier viele Stellen einer Rezension aus dem Netz, deren Lesen und teilweises Übersetzen mir so viel Spass bereiteten wie das Schreiben für sich allein.) Geräuschmusik, Noise, ist das nicht. Wieso erscheint es also auf einem Label, „Harbinger Sound“, in dem Lärm, zerbrechendes Glas, und rabiates Feedbackgedröhne zum guten Ton zählen?! Weil „noise“ Interferenz ist, und „noise“ eine Kraft darstellt, die existierende Systeme aufbrechen und Erwartungen verstören kann. in dieser Hinsicht ist das erbarmungslose Duo aus Nottingham eben auch geräuschig. Jason Williamson wurde in Grantham geboren, und auch ohne Reiseführer zu befragen, gilt dieses Städtchen als die langweiligste Stadt Englands. Die sogenannte „eiserne Lady“, Maggy Thatcher, kam auch dort auf die Welt, auch das noch! Jahrelang hat sich der junge Jason in Bands getummelt, ohne seinen Ton zu finden. Dann, irgendwann, in einem „fucking studio“ in Nottingham, hat er seine Sprechwutgesänge über einen Metalltrack gelegt. Mit diesem schmutzigen Dialekt, mit lauter seltsamen Wörtern und Codes, die einem Outsider noch fremder vorkommen müssten als der abgedrehteste Graffiti in einer leblosen Industrieanlage. Zynismus, Verachtung, Verzweiflung brechen sich Bahn in seinen Liedern. Warum sollte man sich das antun? Weil der Humor so gut ist! Nach einer Weile gesellte sich Andrew Fearn zu diesen gesammelten schwarzhumorigen Wutattacken und half, den Songs einen feinen groben Schliff zu verpassen: minimale Elektronik, eine Extraidee für jeden Song, zweite Gesangsspur, und andere Details. „Austerity Dogs“ ist eine unglaubliche Schallplatte. Die Stücke gehen in einander über ohne die kürzeste Atempause, die Lieder sind so hart und schmucklos wie „Pink Flag“ von Wire, so trockenbassorientiert wie „Bass Culture“ von Linton Kwesi Johnson, die Atmosphäre ist so dicht, das sich Bass und Tamburin wie der bedrohlichste Klang auf Erden anhören. „I worked my dreams off for two bits of ravioli and a warm bottle of Smirnoff under a manager that doesn’t have a fucking clue.” Wäre „Sozialer Realismus“ nicht so ein abgefackelter Ausdruck, man könnte ihn hier bestens verwenden. Aber das lässt man besser. „Austerity Dogs“ ist ein Meisterwerk aus den dunklen Winkeln Englands. Fizzzzzzyyyyy. Fizyyyyyy. Fizzzzyyyyy.



(Im letzten Jahr war ich schon sehr angetan von diesem Duo, das so jenseits meiner vertrauten Vorlieben die Säge auspackte und blanken Sarkasmus verströmte. Jetzt, in der Juni-Ausgabe von MOJO, ist ihr neues Werk, eher eine Compilation älterer Tracks, zur Platte des Monats gekürt worden. Aber wirklich doof, dass ich nicht mitgekriegt habe, dass sie einen Tag vor unserem „legendären“ Stuttgarter Klassentreffen im Aachener Musikbunker auftraten, wo ich zuletzt Lamchop sah. Ich hätte sie so gerne gesehen. Fu**!)

This entry was posted on Freitag, 23. Mai 2014 and is filed under "Blog, Musik aus 2013". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Am besten bestellen bei a-musik in Köln …

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    It would be easy to go overboard about Sleaford Mods – here at last is the authentic voice of dispossessed England! The soundtrack to austerity! The poets laureate of the council estates! – but, judging by their seventh album, „singer“ Jason Williamson would scorn the notion. What Divide and Exit offers is disgust – not with the the state of the nation, but with everything: people wallowing in nostalgia watching old punk bands; „vegetarian vets“; those who leave workplace toilets smelling; „St George’s flag twats“ and buses whose gears grind. It even sounds like it offers disgust at those who do nothing but express their own disgust: „Nicked your biscuits, laughed with your mates, wanked in the toilet, you fucking tit rifle,“ says Williamson before offering the mordant chorus: „You’re brave,“ which sounds like it’s directed back at the song’s narrator. It’s most reminiscent of another duo who backed spoken mockery of contemporary culture with none-more-spartan music, I, Ludicrous. But the humour in Sleaford Mods isn’t inclusive; it’s bracing and horrific.

    – Michael Hann, The Guardian

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    The modus operandi of prolific Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods might not sound especially promising: it’s essentially angry swearing atop rudimentary bedroom synth sounds. But that would be reckoning without Jason Williamson’s supremely entertaining delivery. A hybrid of Shaun Ryder stream-of-consciousness and Malcolm Tucker creative obscenity, he never sounds less than fuming, whether referencing David Cameron („the prime minister’s face hanging in the clouds like Gary Oldman’s Dracula“) or addressing more innocuous subject matter such as breakfast cereals („fucking Shredded Wheat, Kellogg’s Cunts“ – you don’t get that with Ed Sheeran). Williamson might be frequently puerile and overly reliant on scatological humour (two songs about trips to the toilet seems excessive), but then these reflections on life in austerity Britain were never likely to be pretty.

    – Phil Mongredian, The Observer

  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Sleaford Mods are the type of band that force you to have an opinion on them within about five seconds of hearing their music. There are no half-measures, no stylistic arcs, no organic steps taken, no time at all to let it sink in and decide if this is something you might like. They’re a duo from Grantham in England, a place most famous for being the birthplace of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Singer Jason Williamson speed-talks bile while Andrew Fearn provides coarse backing tracks, which barely get beyond cheap plastic keyboard presets. They’ve already released a ton of music, most of which got nowhere, until last year’s Austerity Dogs, which gained rolling acclaim as a treatise on the State of Things in contemporary England. It might sound unlikely, but a man who frequently references toilet habits in songs has become one of the most sharp and funny chroniclers of his country’s widespread slump into disillusionment.

    Williamson has had a few attempts at getting somewhere in music before. “I used to be in bands, fuckin’ hated it” is the slogan on Sleaford Mods’ Bandcamp page. They’re a band of inherent contradiction, neither coming from the English town of Sleaford nor being mods, although Williamson’s appearance bears traces of a mod past. Instead, Divide and Exit is about as punk as punk gets in 2014. Williamson sounds charged, wired, determined to make one last go of things, simultaneously expressing his frustration at the helplessness of it all and finding his words taking him somewhere beyond his current predicament—a juxtaposition that could have fascinating implications for this band’s future. Sleaford Mods are playing sell-out shows in the UK, gaining blanket acclaim everywhere. Their next album, post audience expansion, should be interesting, especially as Williamson drops enough music industry references into his songs to suggest he’s got an astute grasp on how its machinations work.
    Sleaford Mods songs follow a simple formula, repeated 14 times on Divide and Exit. Fearn triggers his economical music, allowing it to repeat until close, while Williamson gets lost in a blizzard of words, sometimes to the point of tripping over himself (on “Smithy”, about fashion designer Paul Smith, on this album). Profanity, jokes, and commentary come thick and fast, with Williamson often sounding like he’s in an argument with himself, or addressing someone whose identity forms around his words as the song progresses. There are cultural references that will mean nothing to many people outside the UK, most prominently on “Tiswas”, named after a kids’ TV show („Tiswas“) that ran from the mid 1970s to the early 80s. It barely matters because what makes Sleaford Mods work is a universal expression of exasperation, of finding yourself in a position where your ideals are trampled on so hard every day that it feels like society barely has a place for you.

    Even the jokes and puns Williamson scatters through his songs form a particular function if you can dig past them as surface level chatter. They’re so poor, so lacking in laughs, that they resemble the kind of forced-grin jollity people put on when they’re at an absolute low, scrambling around for something, anything, to get them through the day. He hops from that kind of thinking to scathing critique in a heartbeat, calling out people who talk in fake regional accents on “Livable Shit” and then lambasting pointless nationalist loyalty in the same song (“St. George’s flag twat,” he growls). You can almost feel Williamson’s skin prickling in the places he goes to in these songs, some of which are outlined in unrelentingly grim terms. On “A Little Ditty” he rants about “gnarly coke-death faces, death death death, nine to a cubicle.” Of course, after such disturbingly lucid thinking, the song ends with a voice saying: “That was shit that end bit, mate.”

    Some of the acts regularly mentioned in the same breath as Sleaford Mods include the Streets, the Fall, and English punk-poet John Cooper Clarke. There are traces of those artists here, but only dim ones in the overall picture. Instead, Sleaford Mods are tapping into a feeling the UK has traditionally found a more expressive home for in mediums other than music. Williamson has declared an admiration for the kitchen sink drama of Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and his ceaseless depiction of a life marred by petty violence, discontent, and resentment resembles the work of filmmaker Alan Clarke, whose Scum and Made in Britain are chilling depictions of societal outcasts whose lives are caught in utter stasis. There’s a similar conviction to those works here—it’s difficult to imagine anyone else being able to pull off a line like “the state is no longer your voice” on “Under The Plastic And N.C.T.”, so convincing is the tenor in Williamson’s voice.
    The crude nature of this music as a mode of overall expression, whether it’s in the unrelenting use of swearing or in Fearn’s cloddish rhythms, might be the most powerful tool this band has at its disposal, particularly in terms of making a connection to a bigger audience. Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller recently exhibited pictures drawn by prisoners of the Iraq war, which depict the chief architects of the conflict, including Tony Blair and former UN weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly. The works are raw and technically poor, but the bitterness and hatred they express is overwhelming, illustrating how base feeling, when expressed with such belief, can overcome any window dressing put up around it. Where Sleaford Mods take their wonderfully foul-mouthed antagonism from here is anyone’s guess, but it scarcely matters when they’re so vividly depicting the now. Williamson’s been through a lot, and he knows the zeitgeist when he sees it. A recent tweet from Sleaford Mods succinctly sums up both the position they find themselves in and the feeling they reflect in their music: “This is our time.”

    – Nick Neyland, Pitchfork

  5. Ian M:


  6. Michael Engelbrecht:

    To say it in your very own words, Ian: fuckin‘ genius. And I idiot didn’t know they were playin‘ just around the corner.

  7. Martina:

    They perform the song „Fizzy“ on a horrible brown sofa while Jason Williamson sings (you can´t really call it singing) and his companion checks his mobile phone. Never seen or heard something like that.

Manafonistas | Impressum | Kontakt | Datenschutz