Single Review: Sleaford Mods – Jobseeker

May 2020 sees Sleaford Mods release All That Glue, a collection of songs spanning the last seven years of the band’s career. It’s an array of crowd pleasers, B sides, unheard tracks and rarities for fans and the curious, released via Rough Trade.

Ahead of All That Glue‘s release, the band are releasing fan favourite ‘Jobseeker’ for the first time (!!) It’s hard to believe that this stone cold classic SM track is currently neither available physically nor digitally, yet it remains pivotal to any SM set list. In addition to ‘Jobseeker’, footage from the duo’s acclaimed sell out show last year at the Eventim Apollo will be released for the first time and it kicks off with an incendiary performance of ‘Tweet Tweet Tweet’.

So what else can we say about ‘Jobseeker’ that hasn’t been said before? Well, firstly it’s a perfect example of the minimalist electronica and drum and bass combination that Andrew Fearn is so good at. If you’re new to SM, then this a brilliant place to start. Secondly, even though the song at first seems to have its tongue firmly in its cheek (“I sat around the house wanking” “I want to know why you don’t serve coffee ‘ere’”), it is in fact an on point pre I Daniel Blake, pre IDS DWP, pre Universal Credit warning of the current system used by JSA claimants and the impact it has on their physical and mental wellbeing. The imagery of “can of Strongbow I’m a mess, desperately clutching on to a leaflet on depression, supplied to me by the NHS” is a devastating one. It conjures up a terrible predicament, and one that in the time elapsed since ‘Jobseeker’s original release, has not improved for some people. In fact, it’s got a lot fucking worse. Thirdly, the “they’ll only spend it on drugs!!” brigade is well and truly baited and trolled with Jason Williamson’s ‘till robbing’ reasons for not considering similar work that he’s previously done. Just brilliant.

Once you start to dissect a track like ‘Jobseeker’, you realise how good SM are. The combination of Fearn’s instrumentation and Williamsons’ lyrics is playful, tense, dynamic, hilarious, infuriating, and ultimately, tragic. The power of ‘Jobseeker’ cannot be understated, and while we’re at it, neither can all the other tracks on this long awaited compilation. Avoid it at your peril.

In fact, avoid all of Sleaford Mods’ output at your peril as they are the UK’s most vital band and have been for quite a few years now. There is no one quite like Sleaford Mods. Full stop.

Review by Ioan Humphreys

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