Release Date: Jan 22, 2016
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Songs for our Mothers delights in the disgusting. It runs on the impulse that makes you sniff the old kebab from under your bed. The desire that makes you look at whatever you’ve pulled from your nose before throwing it away, or eating it, your choice. It has the twisted, purile sexuality that makes a Take a Break headline like “Stepdad Made Me His Sex Slave” eminently marketable.
Four years into their career, Fat White Family have garnered a reputation for two things: acting crazy onstage and off, and gobbling up pretty much any illegal substance that crosses their path. The Londoners don’t refute either of these points—on the contrary, their madness connects them to their audience. “There are deep-set psychological issues in this band that are a bigger problem for us than drugs,” guitarist Saul Adamczewski told NME, going on to add, “there’s nothing exceptional about us as drug abusers; we’re just like everybody else.
Brixton’s grossest band zone out on second album. We expected Fat White Family, South London’s depraved psych-country filthmongers, to fall apart, but we assumed it’d be over methadone overdoses and public indecency arrests.. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads.
As the song titles (Goodbye Goebbels, When Shipman Decides) on Fat White Family’s second album show, the south London squat-rockers love to provoke. Songs for Our Mothers, then, is nothing of the sort, its grimy fusion of Germanic disco (Whitest Boy on the Beach), demonic swamp rock (Duce) and drug-addled noise (We Must Learn to Rise) positing the band as a modern Throbbing Gristle. What they’re trying to say isn’t always clear – are they sixth-form shock merchants or more profound? – but the five-piece most impress at their least confrontational.
Speaking to what’s left of the weekly music press, Fat White Family guitarist Saul Adamczewski offered his sales pitch for the band’s second album. “We’ve really tried to go to the extremes of what’s tasteful,” he offered, “or even good.” This is the kind of hyperbolic remark fame-hungry bands are wont to make in the middle of NME features that breathlessly detail their druggy excesses and establishment-baiting credentials: a jaded observer might suggest that the most surprising thing about it is that the NME still interviews bands, presumably as a sideline to its main business of running advertorial for computer companies and encouraging its readers to buy toiletries. But Adamczewski wasn’t exaggerating.
On their first album, Fat White Family sounded like they could be a group of bitter, homeless alcoholics who took to making music on battered gear found in a house where they were squatting. Three years later, the group made something of a creative shift; on 2016's Songs for Our Mothers, those winos have purchased a cheap but reliable rhythm machine and started dabbling in club music. Granted, "Whitest Boy on the Beach" and "Hits Hits Hits" are the only tunes where they make full use of their new toy, but the queasy face-off between the proto-disco groove on "Whitest Boy" and the sickly wheeze of the group's vocals (mixed low enough to make most of the lyrics unintelligible) is made to order for a band that enjoys making people uncomfortable.
Much of the hubbub surrounding Fat White Family relates to their full-on, no holds/holes barred, tumultuous live performances and lifestyle. Translating decadence, drugs, nudity and flour bombs into an audio only performance is a hard ask and it’s fair to say that as yet, the Fat Whites have not worked out how to make a satisfying recording of their electrifying performances. Still there’s more than one way to skin a cat and garner attention, and Songs For Our Mothers is full of tunes and subjects that seek to shock.
Headed up by Saul Adamczewski, the singer of mid-noughties indie band never-weres The Metros, Fat White Family garnered much attention with last year’s debut album, Champagne Holocaust, as well as their reputation for rambunctious, chaos-filled gigs. Yet while the band talk the talk of rebellion, revolution and a smash-the-system ideology, they don’t really walk the walk. Rather, Songs For Our Mothers is an overwhelmingly safe record that is largely absent of the fire the band believe they’re lighting.
To some, Fat White Family represent the shit stains on twenty-first-century rock and roll's carefully-packaged Calvin Kleins. An impoverished speck of residue that disappears every wash day yet comes back to haunt said boxers after every wear. In a climate where Years & Years and Bastille are depicted as the alternative while undoubtedly proving safer than the mainstream - even Justin Bieber gets photographed smoking the odd blunt every once in a while - this South London outfit really are happening without the industry's permission.
Unpredictable, dangerous, at loggerheads with eachother - the mythology around Fat White Family has taken on a bizarre form since the release of 2013’s ‘Champagne Holocaust’. The Saul Adamczewski-led band are billed as an accident waiting to happen. Their destructive, dingy rock ’n roll has a fear factor that you won’t get from a million identikit, by-the-book pop prospects, and so they’ve been hailed in some quarters as the second coming.
The Fat White Family like to get f***** up and fight, and they’ve been doing it since they formed in south London pub-cum-squat The Queens Head in 2012. Past misdemeanours include: arguing then collapsing onstage, publicly celebrating Margaret Thatcher’s death, naming their record label Without Consent, and filling 2013 debut ‘Champagne Holocaust’ with contentious filth including a song called ‘Cream Of The Young’ that referenced “a 15-year-old tongue“. They are sick and provocative thrilling.
British group Fat White Family spit in the face of millennial optimism with sludgy songs about sex, abuse, addiction and fascism that are occasionally grotesque and antagonistic. They have a reputation for throwback heroin chic and a desire to revitalize rock with something more primal and subversive, but their second album too often flatlines. It starts off hookily enough with the dancey Whitest Boy On The Beach and the Sean Lennon-co-produced Satisfied, before quickly slipping into middling lethargy.
In spite of the usual lull of a new year, this January, in particular, was jam-packed with loads of exciting releases that cover a whole gamut of styles and attitudes. Sometimes we just don't have the time and resources to cover them all, but that doesn't mean we're always listening. Below are some ….