Oh lord they are back. "The most gratifying and unexpected creative volte face in recent musical history!" screams the press release. The first track released from the sessions 'Feet' spends its time begging to differ as it just sounds like Fat White Family. But why let actual music get in the way of a hyped press release and their usual flirting with dodgy imagery. It's certainly something that never stopped Fat White Family before so in that respect it's same as it ever was. We'll reserve further judgement til we've heard the whole thing maybe.  

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Serfs Up! by Fat White Family
1 review. Write a review for us »
9/10 Will 17 April 2019

More ink has been spilled about those Fat Whites boys than from a squid in a ghost train. Whether they deliberately court the press or not, people just love to talk about the Fat White Family. For the most part, I think this is justified. They’re certainly one of the most interesting guitar bands to come along in the past five or so years. What irks me is that sometimes the circus threatens to overcome the music itself. When you hear so much in the press about varying drug addictions, violence, interpersonal relationships, a soup of problems, and then read reports of how they hauled themselves out of the mud to create the album, your opinions have already been tainted. You end up submitting your appreciation to the aesthetic conditions that the band have set out for themselves. You expect everything, in short. ‘Serfs Up!’ mostly delivers on this expectation. In terms of criticisms (let’s get them out of the way), ‘Serfs Up’ is not as far away from ‘Songs For Our Mothers’ as I imagined it would be. Sonic themes have been re-explored, somewhat, and although the press release (albeit jokingly) says, that the band ‘inhabit another cosmos entirely’, this maybe isn’t the case on the whole (on a few songs, though, it is).

Listen. With the Fat Whites, sometimes I expect the world. The sheer malevolence of ‘Auto-Neutron’, the sheer brilliance of ‘Whitest Boy On The Beach’, the beauty of ‘Lend Me Some Cutter’, as well as the superb singles they’ve already released from this album, ‘Feet’ and ‘It Tastes Good With The Money’, meant I went into listening to this album expecting nothing short of a masterpiece. In some places, it is. ‘Oh Sebastian’ is a highlight, combining Beach Boys production and a killer chorus, into a piece of mundane yet strange baroque pop. I also love ‘I Believe In Something Better’, which is carried on by a skittering, almost ‘Push The Sky Away’-era Nick Cave drum beat. Side 2 (if you’re listening on vinyl), is a much more engaging listen than Side 1, which is similar to stuff the band have done before. As mentioned, ‘Feet’ is a masterpiece and ‘It Tastes Good With The Money’ is languorously euphoric in a way that only the Fat Whites know how to do. There are so many great songs here, I just think that it’s not as genre-warping and exquisite as I was expecting.

However (large however), I will need to re-listen to this album because, upon the second listen, I enjoyed this record a good 25% more than I did upon my initial listen. This is a brilliant album, better than so many guitar bands around at the moment, and I look forward to enjoying it more and more.



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