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The fifth studio album from never-knowingly-short-of-a-pun duo Sleaford Mods is on their own new 'Extreme Eating' label following a relatively brief sojourn with Rough Trade. Eton Alive is an aptly-titled affair in a year when which the actions of certain Old Etonians are in real danger of tearing the United Kingdom apart. Be assured that Sleaford Mods will have plenty to say on the subject of Brexit, austerity, and pretty much everything else related to the "shit pipe of this tatty civilisation" - all splurted out in their usual inimitable rattle-and-rant style.  

Vinyl LP £14.50 EE001

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Limited edition, indies only blue coloured vinyl LP on Extreme Eating.

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CD £9.99 EE001CD

CD on Extreme Eating.

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Tape on Extreme Eating. Limited edition of 500 copies.

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Black vinyl LP on Extreme Eating.

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REVIEWS

Eton Alive by Sleaford Mods
13 reviews. Write a review for us »
7/10 Clinton 19 February 2019

It's just over 6 years ago that Sleaford Mods released their breakthrough album Austerity Dogs, and it's been quite the ride for them since - from beard-stroking approval in The Wire to Radio 6 hegemony via our very own Album of the Year in 2013. They've increased in popularity each year, with literally anything they release gobbled up by their rabid fanbase.

You can see why: they still offer something that no-one else in music gets close to (and don't fucking say Slaves, Idles or Fat White Family anywhere near me). Williamson and Fearn dispense raw and immediate music that connects directly to masses of disenchanted people in this increasingly divided and despairing country, but they do so with humour and pathos. They provide a certain entertainment, something often missing from the output of the more studied groups in their wake.

Only on last year's self-titled Rough Trade 12" did they start sounding remotely tired, and this reviewer at least expected that a new album on their very own new imprint would mark the band's attempt to get back to their raw basics, prove that they still have the old fire in their bellies. Instead, Eton Alive is a mix of half-paced tracks with a more subtle, electronic-based production style providing the bedrock for Jason Williamson's scathing-as-ever takedowns on what it means to live in the UK in 2019.

When this slightly shifted sound is as pulsating and exciting as lead track 'Kebab Spider' then the results are as thrilling as anything they've done. 'Discourse', too, is an album standout with a breezy pulsating rhythm - the increase in pace and driving Jason Williamson to his best vocal performance of the record.

But sometimes this more beat-laden approach leads to a more sterile experience, lacking the punk dynamism of before. The final two tracks on Side A exemplify the conundrum of where Sleaford Mods stand musically at this point. 'When You Come Up To Me' tries something new: Williamson sings rather than rants and it sounds...well...not like Sleaford Mods. 'Top It Up', on the other hand, is almost Sleaford Mods by numbers. The reaction in the office is interesting. "WTF?" for the former; "That's more like it" for the latter. I'll play the office contrarian this time round, and say that 'When You Come Up To Me' is, at least, a bold choice for bold band who could just repeat a formula to infinity if they so choose.

Overall, the entire A side is a somewhat muted and melancholic thing. Flip it over, however, and 'Flipside' blasts out of the tracks with the band sounding like they've had a rollocking at half time. Like the previous English Tapas, the most progressive and thrilling music comes towards the end. I already mentioned the blitzkreig 'Discourse', but closer 'Negative Script' is a more minimalist thing with a tight and true beat and a sense of space that recalls post-punkers such as ESG.

So, is the 'everything is shit' stuff wearing somewhat thin? Is the Sleaford Mods' necessarily sparse sound beginning to feel a bit stretched? I dunno, it's possible. Maybe I need to listen again. Like any number of bands, Sleaford Mods could put the sound of them having a piss out to rave reviews. I can't rave about this album, yet. But Eton Alive is another rollercoaster ride of sardonic wordplay, thought-provoking rhetoric and brittle instrumentation that will more than delight that rabid fanbase.


9/10 Peter 13th March 2019

Brilliant new album and, as usual, a gritty, realistic view of life..

The tunes on this album seem way more grown up than the other albums but it never loses its punch regarding lyrical content. Now, the way I listen to Sleaford Mods is to hear the tunes first, then after the next few listens, hear the lyrics and then that, for me completes the whole experience. I have heard, from a few friends, that Sleaford Mods are getting bored and listless but I say.. No..!

They will remain a go to and to listen to...


8/10 Phil 8th March 2019

What can you say. Jason and Andrew have been across the media and even in the charts this last week or two thanks to Eton Alive. They are also selling out venues across the UK. If you like the Sleaford sound then you will definitely love this album. Spiky, splenetic and loads of energy. The best album they have done so far and very in touch with the zeitgeist of our angry times. Kebab Spider is the standout track but there isn’t really a dud on here. The world needs the Sleaford Mods more than I suspect it realised! This album certainly cheers me up!


9/10 Phil 7th March 2019

Really enjoying listening to this. Sleaford Mods on good form. I’m not much of a critic but I do like this band a lot. It’s as good as and consistent with English Tapas.


6/10 Alan Customer rating (no review), 2nd August 2019
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