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Fat White Family - Serfs Up! (Album Review)

Friday, 26 April 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

Fat White Family’s third studio album is a vibrant, esoteric melange of sounds and influences, bringing together post-punk, reggae, garage rock and more. It’s a fun, considered and detailed record from a band who have sometimes appeared to court gratuitous controversy for the sake of it.

Frontman Lias Saoudi is back with vim, bringing dingy grunge crooning on Kim’s Sunsets and Rock Fishes alongside more spidery, anarchic singing on tracks like Fringe Runner and I Believe In Something Better. Since the band debuted in 2011, Saoudi has developed a reputation as one of the most thrilling live performers in the U.K., and ‘Serfs Up!’ gives him plenty to play with while maintaining a degree of tonal focus absent on Fat White Family’s previous albums.

One of the best moments comes on the opener, Feet. This juggernaut of a track is a swaggering dirge, landing somewhere between Radiohead’s National Anthem and INXS.

It gives great freedom to Saoudi’s lyrics, using a reined-in vocal pattern to deliver a mad stream of-consciousness, full of confusion, filth and sex: “When I look at women, what I see is other men / Fold 'em just like cattle, fold 'em like Sean Penn / The sea washed off my features, with perfect nonchalance / With nothing to diminish, and nothing to enhance.”

Elsewhere, there is the remarkable Tastes Good With The Money. This song opens with an austere choral intro before dropping into a skipping glam-rock groove, which then leads to the most singalong chorus on the album. This is a band who continue to have a lot of fun by messing  with the form of pop songs—they may simply have got better at melody writing over the past few years.

On another note, the video to this track really must be seen to be believed. It’s a retro suburban bloodbath with cross dressing, suicides and cannibalism. A horrifically fun watch—maybe that controversy isn’t so gratuitous after all.

Fat White Family Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri April 26 2019 - KINGSTON UPON THAMES Pryzm
Wed May 01 2019 - SOUTHAMPTON 1865
Thu May 02 2019 - BRIGHTON Concorde 2
Fri May 03 2019 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Sat May 04 2019 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Tue May 07 2019 - GLASGOW SWG3 TV Studio
Wed May 08 2019 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Thu May 09 2019 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Fri May 10 2019 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Tue May 14 2019 - NORWICH UEA The Waterfront
Wed May 15 2019 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town

Click here to compare & buy Fat White Family Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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