Sleaford Mods

Austerity Dogs

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Armed with little more than a primitive drum machine, some flabby bass guitar, and a seemingly bottomless well of gripes and grievances, Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods set most of Britain in their crosshairs on their devastating debut LP, Austerity Dogs. The disillusioned youth who have traditionally hoarded punk's essence don't stand a chance against 40-something Jason Williamson, whose irritated, ornery rants are delivered like a machine gun of disparagement over bandmate Andrew Fearn's hammering lo-fi beats. A handful of singles and a 2012 self-released CD-R called Wank preceded this release, but Austerity Dogs, with its dead-on working-class takedowns and hard-won fury, feels like it came out of nowhere. Their blindingly simple formula of gritty stream-of-consciousness rapping/shouting over thin, Spartan beats and often two- or three-note basslines seems like it should have been done before, but one listen to the full-bore vitriol of "Fizzy" or "The Wage Don't Fit" and it's clear that the Mods own this turf. There's a brutal poeticism to the delivery as Williamson, in his thick Midlands accent, takes down horrible employers ("The cunt with the gut and the Buzz Lightyear haircut, calling the workers plebs"), other bands ("I hate that lad shit, that red top nice tits Ian McCulloch white boy bore me fuckless terrace bit"), and crappy clubs ("Pot-bellied promoters, cheap coasters, I can't get the fucking stain off"), or just spouts hilarious obscurities ("I'm gonna wee in a basin, unleash a horrible looking vampire like James Mason"). Words like raw and honest come to mind, but really it's the urgency of Austerity Dogs that makes it so thrilling. It's bound to polarize listeners, but ultimately it gives the impression of being fully armed throughout, and keeping up that kind of intensity is a tough trick to pull off.

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