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Sleaford Mods: Spare Ribs review – a joyous tonic

Kitty Empire
·1-min read

In the Christian folk tale, Eve was fashioned from Adam’s superfluous rib. Sleaford Mods think we’re all spare ribs: canon fodder, expendable in the eyes of a government that responded too weakly, too late, to the pandemic. The ruling class, Jason Williamson suggests, perennially sacrifice the powerless to feed GDP.

If that’s the cheery take-home at the heart of Sleaford Mods’ sixth album, the east Midlands duo remain a joyous tonic, all funny, burbling noises, word association and banging tunes. Andrew Fearn’s deathlessly inventive compositions stare you down, defying you to find them simplistic – the title track’s turbo-charged electro, and the pointillist electronics of Top Room, are just two cases in point.

Related: On my radar: Jason Williamson's cultural highlights

Williamson’s fugue state is every bit as eloquent on “the warm milkshake of nowhere” as he is on people standing “outside a high rise, trying to act like a gangsta” or getting Brexit “fucked by a horse’s penis”. Innovations are small but significant. Guests include the excellent Billy Nomates and Amy Taylor (Amyl & the Sniffers). Williams essays some quasi-folk hollering on The New Brick; elsewhere, his vocals are multitracked. Two songs – Mork n Mindy and Fishcakes – hark back to his childhood without an iota of nostalgia.