Sleaford Mods Credit: Simon Parfrement

If Nottingham’s Sleaford Mods have anything that might be considered a breakout single it’s “Jobseeker,” a track that landed them on the BBC’s Later . . . With Jools Holland in 2015. The hyperaggressive and starkly minimal duo were a sight never before seen on the late-night circuit, right away making them something of a black sheep for the mainstream variety show. Foregrounded by an old busted laptop resting on a keg, beat maker Andrew Fearn slammed a plastic cup of beer while awkwardly bobbing to a simple, driving beat that sounded like a gloomy Casio keyboard demo. In control of the mike, vocalist Jason Williamson frothed at the mouth as he delivered a profanity-ridden performance that landed somewhere between rapping and unhinged ranting and raving. Finding the middle ground between the Fall and Wu-Tang Clan—or U.K. anarcho-punk and east-coast boom-bap—Sleaford Mods have been using this basic formula to work up a racket since 2007. On the brand-new English Tapas, their first full-length for Rough Trade, they’ve taken a deep breath of sorts: tempos groove a little more, and Williamson’s verbal assault is more paced and deliberate, at times even forming into catchy, melodic choruses. But don’t get it twisted, this is by no means a pop record—Sleaford Mods are as intense and bizarre as ever.  v

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