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8/10 Mike 31 July 2013

I just reviewed Black Rain’s first new 12” in about 17 years, and now I’ve another artist to write about who I was too young for first time round - Family Fodder, who have apparently been going since way back in 1975! The press release repeatedly brands them as post-punk, but actually to my ears this is a very complex experimental pop album, with freewheeling arrangements incorporating electronics, neo-baroque string arrangements, harshly distorted guitars and some weird reggae touches too. Oh, and this album has more hooks than one of those hook-a-duck stalls at the funfair.

It starts off a little too poppy for my tastes, although with admirable and heart-warming arrangements that will still appeal to fans of quirky left-of-centre pop, with some especially interesting moments where the instruments follow the vocal line giving it an exotic eastern feel. It’s really when they reach the experimental electronic squelch of ‘Vampyre On My Mind’, with its weirdly processed vocals and broken pop aesthetic, and the Tom Waits-meets-Beefheart crunch of ‘It’s 1965’ (where that post-punk reference finally makes more sense) that the album really takes off for me, though. What can I say? I like things weird. That said, they later confound me by delivering a perfect little Television Personalities-esque acoustic number in ‘Backstreets of Infinity’.

It’s not a perfect album, there’s a couple of throwaway tracks I could live without, but at its high points it proves that the Fodder family are still packing more imagination and style than most musicians half their age. Respect. Entertaining review by David Shrigley in the liner notes too.


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