Indie provocateurs Fat White Family return with a diminished line-up, a new single, Feet, that echoes chilling 80’s darkwave and the threatening sound that characterized their early outings.
Around 2013, Fat White Family seemed to encapsulate everything that critics bored with the indie rock of the likes of Franz Ferdinand wanted in a band. They were bold, loud, made a bad name for themselves everywhere they went, and gave reasons for comparison with Iggy and the Stooges. Critics sure love comparing new bands to the Stooges.
Fittingly, perhaps, FWF’s history has been an odd and entangled tale that includes two uneven albums, a bizarre and confrontational social media presence, a brief partnership with Sean Lennon, and a couple of side bands that seemed to take up much of the band’s energy. There was even an opportunity to appear on late night TV, in David Letterman’s final season of the Late Show. FWF seized the chance, not merely looking to further their career, but, rather, to cause consternation and warrant a few complaints from CBS’ viewers.
Fat White Family is a band apparently assembled with the sole purpose of becoming a major cult act that the cool kids from generations into the future will be able to quote. Band mastermind and singer, Lias Saoudi, is a man as preoccupied with losing fans, as he is with winning them over. And while this could well be the making of rock lore, the fact remains, the group has yet to produce a great album.
This could all change this year, as Fat White Family get ready to release the cleverly titled “Serf’s up!”. The three remaining band members sound just as ready for an altercation as they’ve always been on first single Feet. However, while FWF have been away their reputation has grown. They now find themselves on a relatively large record label (ironically the one that also hosts their rivals the Arctic Monkeys) and it sounds like new recordings have benefited from a hefty budget.
If the members of Fat White Family are grand charlatans, the trick they’ve been playing is ready to pay off. Fortunately for those enamored with their antics, the band still sounds they could cause a stir and mess things up at any moment out of their own will.
Feet has been described through the band, as music born out of the bleak British winter they subjected themselves to, and inspired by funk pioneers the Commodores. The song spurts rhythmically through a haze of synths that resemble 80s Depeche Mode and a vocal delivery a la Leonard Cohen, that mentions babies being washed up on the shore, Sean Penn, and national pride.
Fat White Family’s new album is out in April and after their strange, occasionally scintillating journey, success might just be the most twisted trick this band has played.