Album Picks: Andy Stott, Sleaford Mods

Posted by Billy Gil, November 25, 2014 09:41am | Post a Comment

Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers (LP, CD)

Though techno/dub producer Andy Stott’s latest release was most certainly made using computers, he’s channeling something otherwordly here. Noirish opener “Time Away” evokes deeds unseen in the middle of the night with its long, foggy tones. Alison Skidmore, Stott’s former piano teacher, lends airy, disembodied vocals for Stott to manipulate and mangle amid squirting synth noise on “Violence,” though some of her seductive intonations give Stott a welcome personality to work with. “Science and Industry” calls to mind Joy Division in its merciless bleakness and clanging beatwork, while “No Surrender” pushes beautiful synth runs into the red, beats bleeding over into one another. Though Stott has the ability to move and sometimes overwhelm you with sound, it’s the silences and sense of space in songs like the title track that make them stay with you, even as “Faith in Strangers” ends up as one of Stott’s most engaging, optimistic compositions. Faith in Strangers isn’t quite as cohesive as his last album, Luxury Problems, but its tracks also feel a lot more like individual songs, rather than parts of one large piece. The source of the creeping menace present in Stott’s music may elude you after finishing Faith in Strangers, but it’s entirely effective in creating a sense of place before unsettling you. Faith in Strangers feels alluringly just out of reach, keeping you delving into its dark passages. Just remember to come up for breath. 



Sleaford Mods - Chubbed Up + (LP out 12/09, CD, Download)

Jason Williamson is pissed about a lot of things. His screeds against unemployment bureaucrats (“Jobseeker”), drones and/or pop stars (“Bambi”), shitty views (“Scenery”) and any other thing that sticks in his craw are hilarious and pointed, while bandmate Andrew Fearns’ rudimentary grooves get the job done in a way that calls to mind punk-funk greats like ESG, Public Image Ltd. and Gang of Four. Williamson’s “working class rage,” as he mentions in one track, has some precedence in The Streets’ Mike Skinner and The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, but while Skinner’s rants veered more personal and Smith’s more global, Williamson aims at bigger targets by focusing on the oppressive minutiae of day-to-day life. Even while tracking through superficial nonsense live overpriced coffee in “Jolly Fucker,” Williamson gets point across about vapid people creating more of the same—“I can’t believe you had kids, fuck off!” he shouts cathartically while Fearns supplies a threatening groove. Sleaford Mods’ style may be abrasive, but they’re also a lot of fun to listen to on this singles comp. With shit-eating grins on their faces, Willamson and Fearns make Chubbed Up + caustically entertaining.

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Album Picks (146), New Albums (213), New Releases (214), Andy Stott (12), Sleaford Mods (3)