Fat White Family

STAFF PICKS: Fat White Family’s Champagne Holocaust was one of 2013’s best albums — and nearly everyone missed it

But don't fret, the South London sleazeballs' debut is getting a reissue and scads more attention courtesy of Fat Possum.

- Aug 18, 2014

Sometimes good music gets skipped over. It's an inevitability in our present day multichannel, democratized clatter of a musical ecosystem that every now and then, exciting noteworthy stuff falls through the cracks. (The cracks, I guess, being the interest of record labels, both indie and major, which by and large still hold the keys, resource-wise, when it comes to vital stuff like promotion and distribution).

Fat White Family quietly upped Champagne Holocaust via Bandcamp more than a year ago, and while their Britannia (and its native rags The Quietus, Q, and NME) slowly caught on, we across the Atlantic were too busy fucking with new Daft Punk or Vampire Weekend or some shit to take notice.

While their Britannia and its native rags slowly caught on, we across the Atlantic were too busy fucking with new Daft Punk or Vampire Weekend to take notice.

In May 2014, the six-piece signed with Fat Possum and announced that they'd re-release their debut. Now, the press engines are at full roar. It's sort of what happened with Parquet Courts — who are, in many ways, their cleaner cut, brainier North American counterpart — and their Light Up Gold reissue on What's Your Rupture?. We caught the second wave.

Champagne Holocaust plumbs five decades of psychedelia, country and other outré treasure, distilling its own greasy, gap-toothed, often sinister gait. The opener "Auto Neutron" sounds like Barrett-era Floyd. "Who Shot Lee Oswald?" better belongs in the K Records catalog. There are phrases here and there that are downright Beefheartian. Some songs feel like Fat White Family's study of "Dead Flowers," sometimes from the bottom of a K-hole, and other times, after a million beers. The slimy closer, "Touch The Leather," finds the average of Lee Hazlewood and The Normal (while also pretty directly riffing on the Beasts of Bourbon's cover of "Psycho").

As for all of the "sordid"s and "depraved"s that litter their reviews, sure, they're provocateurs (not full-on GG Allins, mind you). They're not scared to make you uncomfortable. In fact, they might have fun doing it. And, yes, some of their shtick's a bit fatuous — the Hitler 'stache, the Thatchter death party, a title like "Bomb Disneyland" — but in the tradition of the best, most powerful punk rock, the Fat Whites are mischievous, a bit malevolent even, like they know some icky secret, some other way, that'd blow the buttons off your golf shirt. And, somehow, you're compelled to keep looking.

I'm just glad their debut made enough noise falling through the cracks to get scraped off the bottom, shined up, and pushed out all over again.

is it raining in your mouth? - fat white family


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