While ‘English Tapas’ might literally refer to a menu item at “some random pub” visited by Sleaford Mods’ button-presser Andrew Fearn, it’s a fitting title for an album that’s predominantly interested in dissecting and digesting various pockets of society. At their strongest when pointing out the ironies and idiocies of modern day England, they’re a band who divide opinions while being unflinching in their own.
Coming quickly off the back of last year’s ’T.C.R’ EP, ‘English Tapas’ builds on the more developed backing tracks that populated that record, providing the songs featured here with more musical depth, something which benefits frontman Jason Williamson’s anarchic tirades to no end.
Jason is all too aware of the failings of Britain: its politics, its social hierarchy, the sheer contradiction of a country striving to appear cosmopolitan while desperately clinging to its archaic past, a discrepancy evident in the record’s title alone. As such, the lyrics across the course of the record feel less politicised, the characters less personal, resulting in a record that feels both wholly more developed, and ultimately more accessible than the EP it follows.
Everyone’s come across the hyper-masculine servicemen depicted in opener ‘Army Nights’, or felt the resentment of pissing your life away in a dead-end nine-to-five as per ‘Time Sands’. This feeling of recognition permeates the entirety of ‘English Tapas’, and is arguably what gives Sleaford Mods their appeal. They’re a band that come from the same place we do, have experienced the same things we have. And as long as people carry on being ignorant, complacent, or just fucking numb to what’s going on around them, you can guarantee that Sleaford Mods will carry on being the mouthpiece they’re not aware they need.