Sleaford Mods – Key Markets – Review

Angry, ranty and with more than a smidgeon of social comment, Key Markets challenges an industry too much in love with its own navel to wake up and smell the coffee.

Sleaford mods have become something of a media phenomenon in recent weeks as an industry used to being spoon fed the musical equivalent of baby food suddenly delights in something that has a bit of flavour about it.

In their third outing, Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn prove that they aren't so much angry with us all but just fucking disappointed. And they have a right to be.

Taking no prisoners the collection gets off to a sound start with a cheering crowd chanting their name, almost invoking a scene from Quadrophenia before dissolving into Fearns' thunking bass beat and spare drum.

The East Midlands accent is often to be found submerged into a mid atlantic faux Elvis drawl (try Ed Sheeran or Kasabian) but with the Mods it takes a place front and centre providing Williamsons' half rapped, half sung , half spoken word lyrics with a gritty reality lacking in so many of todays' music.

In a kind of working class pastiche of Blur's Parklife, the song charts a stream of conciousness that has less to do with artisnal cheese and more to do with dirty pokey pubs and shit beer.(oh and bloody Shakin Stevens)

sleaford mods


The East Midlands accent makes an appearance in the title of 'Cunt make it up' although being picky it should be 'cunt mek it up'. So there. The song throws a headbut at wanabee rock singers and 'green jobs'.

Garagey they are, grungy they are and each track forces you to listen. Try writing an insolvency blog when Key Markets is on, I dare you.

Raging against the machine, 'Face to faces' shouts 'wake up' in the full knowledge that no-one actually will. Doesn't stop the chaps getting annoyed about it though.

Key Markets is in fact so far away from what constitutes music nowadays that it's found itself sitting nicely in a niche of one, somewhere to the right of The Sex Pistols and Wu Tang Clan. The downside is that they may well be doomed to experience the cool kids of The Guardian readers club moving on when they get bored.

We're not fucking Canon and Ball

sleaford mods
sleaford mods

In an age when Vodaphone get £4.2bn written off their tax bill and under 25s are denied access to benefits it's not the right question to ask why the Sleaford Mods have appeared but more why has it taken until now?

The answer might be found in the content of Williamson's lyrics, every one marked as explicit on spotify (that well known arbiter of taste) and every one as likely to get played on radio 6 as I am to turn out for Leicester City in the premiership this season.

It's not just expletives though. The visceral anger with which they are delivered also hides a smart use of language that delights.

The anger in 'Bronx in a Six' is almost palpable, with the shout out to Lauren Laverne (Shaun Keaveney was too hard to rhyme) it becomes an angry stream of conciousness that Fearn studiously manages to avoid ruining with overbearing tunes.

The nearest Williamson gets to actual proper singing is on 'Silly me', a diatribe against perceived past slights whilst the bass evolves into a proper head nodder and (whisper it) almost becomes funky.

sleaford mods


Like that ill advised purchase of chilli flavoured shower gel Key Markets is uncomfortably refreshing and the x-factor generation may well be a bit scared of getting some in their eyes. 'Rupert Trousers' calls out the tartan wearing artisnal cheese eating (producing) cognoscenti but exudes a sad kind of resignation almost. It's almost as if they are saying it's wrong but there's nothing we can do but report it sort of thing.

The sadness of course is that The Sleaford Mods (at their age) should be the ones to be carrying this particular banner, this should be the preserve of angry young men, much in the way that The Sex Pistols slagged off EMI shouldn't the millennials be raging against Boris Johnson instead of queuing to get on The Voice? Maybe.

The album closes with a subliminal link with an angry artist of yesteryear. 'Giddy on the ciggie' and 'Blob' channel Ian Dury at his most rappiest but in a less joyful manner and the bassline has a friend in some of Royal Bloods less frenetic work.

Is this accessible radio friendly music. Nope.

All the same I wish that the 14 year olds would listen and fondly remember it 30 years from now.

Key Markets is available on all of your favourite tax evading streaming services or you can nip along to your local record shop and pay a bit more to keep the dream alive for a bit longer.



One thought on “Sleaford Mods – Key Markets – Review

  1. Amazing achievement from a band bucking every trend in the business. No image, no self indulgence and no scene. So refreshing to see a band with something to say actually crossing over….should give hope to anyone still making music for the love of it, rather than some aspirational music-career bullshit.

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