Formed in 2012 in Nottingham, England, post-punk band Sleaford Mods relies on the alchemy between Andrew Fearn’s music and Jason Williamson’s lyrics (between singing, scansion and declamation). Eleven years on, the duo have released UK Grim: building on the unique, insurrectionary strengths of previous records while refining them in gripping new ways, Sleaford Mods’ twelfth album is a stunning step up. This is nothing less than a defining band and voice of their generation – like The Jam, The Clash or Public Enemy were – more fully realised than ever before. Begun in the lockdowns of 2021, 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 an admission of existential loneliness. 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 the tour that follows could well confirm that. Check it out at Levitation France at the end of May!