Sleaford Mods

Chubbed Up +

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Too few 21st century artists give the impression that nothing is sacred. Not so with Sleaford Mods, who are just as prolific as they are angry. Inspired by bad music, social injustice, and hypocrisy, Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn will likely never run out of fodder for new songs. Fortunately, Chubbed Up, which gathers songs from their 2013 and 2014 singles and EPs -- most of which didn't appear on the albums they released during that time, Austerity Dogs and Divide and Exit -- shows the duo can maintain their music's brilliant fury while cranking out songs as fast as they can record them. There's still an almost bootleg quality to their sound, as though the duo had to work as quickly as possible to avoid getting caught. This warts-and-all approach suits Williamson's scathing rants on songs like "Routine Dean," which could be the prototypical Sleaford Mods song: "I hate what you do/And I don't like you" he scowls over a looped beat purloined from hip-hop and a thudding, punky bassline that lends the only hint of melody. As much as Sleaford Mods' music connects them to early punk and rap's outrage, it's Williamson's seemingly limitless disdain that provides an even stronger link, even -- or especially -- when he swipes at John Lydon's legacy on "Bambi," a dismissive riff on the Sex Pistols' "Who Killed Bambi?," or "Pubic Hair Ltd," which flips PiL the bird as Williamson snarls, "Who gives a fuck about yesterday's heroes?" To that end, he tears into '90s idols on the hilarious "14 Day Court," taking down Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine with one breath ("If you like feedback that much, get a job at the council") and Oasis with the next ("Somebody just thought I was Liam Gallagher -- I'm not happy!"). As blunt as Williamson's lyrics are, there's also a lot of layers to them; repeat listening is required to hear just how he makes his way from excoriating the rich to dropping Black Adder references on "Black Monday," or all the nuances of his disgust on the anthem for the underemployed "Jobseeker." The collection's brightest highlights are probably still the "Jolly Fucker" single and its B-side "Tweet Tweet Tweet," both of which find Williamson at his most profane and profound, and allow Fearn a little more musical sophistication without getting in the way of his bandmate's words. Likewise, the hypnotic "Fear of Anarchy" is the most distinctive of the previously unreleased songs added to the set for its physical reissue. At its best, Chubbed Up plays like a withering exit interview from pop culture; taken with Austerity Dogs and Divide and Exit, it shows Sleaford Mods' music is becoming more vital with each release.

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