Sleaford Mods - Eton Alive - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sleaford Mods - Eton Alive

by Florian Meissner Rating:10 Release Date:2019-02-22
Sleaford Mods - Eton Alive
Sleaford Mods - Eton Alive

One of the most important contemporary punk bands — if not the most important one — is by no means "punk" in the conventional sense. Their music is best described as a mixture of lo-fi electronic music and spoken word, they are only two people, and they have no instruments whatsoever, apart from a laptop operated by Andrew Fearne, and a very sharp tongue belonging to lyricist Jason Williamson.

I‘m obviously speaking of Sleaford Mods, Britain's most important politically charged band at this time. Their last album, English Tapas, cemented their position in the British, European, no, worldwide punk scene, and the self-titled EP that followed showed everyone that they are here to stay.

With Eton Alive, the two men from Nottingham release their tenth album (number 6, if you omit the albums Jason Williamson did solo before teaming up with Fearne). And they don‘t disappoint.

It starts off with Into the Payzone, a song that immediately shows that, although a bit more polished, the Mods haven‘t changed their sound a bit. The lyrics are on point, full of homonyms (the album title itself is a homonym: ”Eton Alive”, when spoken, sounds like “eaten alive”), and spare no one. Whether it’s about Brexit, Boris Johnson, or the current situation for the working class in Britain: Williamson points his fingers at everything that is wrong in today’s world and, especially, in modern day Britain.

He’s supported by driving beats created by Andrew Fearne who, once again, manages to capture the essence of Williamson’s words in an unparalleled soundscape. Songs like Policy Cream, Subtraction, or the first single Kebab Spider, are backed by such tenacious beats that the listener feels the urgency of Williamson’s words even more.

The album doesn’t just rush through. “When you come up to me” is a brilliant example of the Mods' ability to make a song that could almost be considered a ballad — without losing the immediacy and urgency of a current social issue as the main concern.

All in all, Eton Alive shows that Sleaford Mods aren’t afraid of further developing their sound, and can do so without losing what makes them so distinct. Their newest output is an exciting and important album not just for the history of the band, but also in regards to the current political and social situation within Britain. Let’s hope the topics addressed by Williamson and Fearne will be outdated at some point in the future — the music definitely never will be.

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