Begun in the lockdowns of 2021, added to at JT Soars the band’s go to work space, and finished at musical brain Andrew Fearn’s home studio, UK Grim finds the group at their most immaculately enraged, disquieting and ferociously poetic. Following 2021’s Spare Ribs – their third top ten album since 2019 and their most successful yet – it is, like all their records, a diagnosing of the sicknesses of society, a panacea, and a psychological blot test where the listener finds themselves revealed.
Though largely conceived before the tumults of 2022, UK Grim eerily anticipates the convulsions of a society losing its mind, narrated by a man determined to confront hypocrisies, especially his own. 14 watertight tracks take in stripped punk, barbed electronics and haunted hip hop, and subjects as diverse as the pernicious right-wing narrative, robbing from the till at work, a recovering addict’s nostalgia for drugs and, on Apart From You, an admission of existential aloneness. They are too brutally descriptive and psychologically blunt to be simple protest songs. Williamson says Covid ennui, life online, and experience of how the music industry works all folded into the album: however it happened, this could still be the angriest Sleaford Mods record yet.
And so, for a group who’ve inspired no end of musicians across the spectrum while pulling ahead in their own inimitable lane, contradictions are reconciled. “It’s important to investigate the darker side of things,” adds Williamson, who admits that despite the chaos outside, his own life has never been better. “You have to try to describe it as best you can, in an intelligent way, and then you can try and make sense of it.”
As stages, horizons and output continue to grow, Sleaford Mods will continue to do this, as a self-sustaining model of unmitigated artistic integrity. “With us, if it doesn’t work, it clearly doesn’t work,” says Fearn. “So if there’s stuff there, we’ll keep going. It’s like what Andy Warhol said - just make it, don’t overthink it. Then you’ll make those connections happen.” ENDS/ IH" (Promo Copy)