Review: Fat White Family

Seeing the Brixton-based sextet live expect frontman Lias Saoudi to be naked, waving his wedding tackle about in an unseemly fashion.

The band will be pilled up with little sense of give-a-shit or respect for common decency, but you’re unlikely to care.

Scratchy sideburns, impromptu props, and squashed hair from sleeping in a pub – the band are a glorious mess of anger, wit, grime, and a talent for odd hilarity.

Through all of the attention that Fat White Family have drawn for their on-stage antics, too few have noticed the appeal of their music.

Their eclectic first album runs from scuzzy chamber rock, with deep rolling vocals, to post-punk abrasiveness and bluesy faux sleaze.

Their opener ‘Auto Neutron’ is one of their slow numbers, sliding through prickly high-hats and high, pained lyrics.

The music has a feeling of roughness that’s become pretty rare, somehow possessing a carnal intelligence that the crowd gorge on. Saoudi breathes out narky lyrics – “you would sell your mum’s c*** to open doors.”

Don’t expects reels of musical innovation, but the Fat Whites have a pretty good taste and aren’t afraid to experiment with different influences.

Heavily drawing on Saoudi’s self-professed obsession with The Fall and The Birthday Party, with nods to The Velvet Underground and an appreciation of the unpredictable prison-cell recordings of Charles Manson, their music takes on post-punk with a rough-edged self-recorded feel.

The drawn out and repetitive sleaze of ‘Touch the Leather’ is an addictive new addition to their repertoire, listening at bit like something you might hear at a cultured strip club.

It’s abrasive and bawdy and dangerously real.

Some tracks on their debit Champagne Holocaust are bluesy, ‘Is It Raining in Your Mouth?’ with its Velvets grumble showing the bands willingness to jump between eclectic sounds and do so intelligently.

This comes through heavily in their live shows.

The Fat Whites are less defined by a genre than by a movement, the chorus “five sweaty fingers on the dashboard” having the crowd shouting into crumbling climax along with Saoudi.

Perhaps touching on their intrigue with Manson, the show is cult-like, a Family to believe in and a movement to buy into.

As the ultimate ‘Bomb Disneyland’ kicks off with half the band looking like their bodies are running on adrenaline alone, turning the crowd seemingly as depraved as the band look.

Someone chants “The Bitch Is Dead,” referring belatedly to Thatcher’s passing. It’s horrendously crude but no one cares, this a band with a movement and the crowd embrace it.

The thing about Fat White Family is that the experience elevates the music, and the two seem inseparable.

Formed in a squat in Peckham, they embrace Rock’s disappearing anti-establishment sentiment to its extreme.

Not only in terms of politics but political correctness, societal values, and behavioural institutions. The Fat Whites are a shock to the musical establishment, and a great evening crushing your view of yourself as an upstanding citizen: see them if you can.

Killian Troy