Fat White Family: Songs For Our Mothers Review | Virgin Media
Fat White Family: Songs For Our Mothers

Fat White Family: Songs For Our MothersMatthew Horton | Rating: ★★★★



Filthy, sick, antagonistic – the epithets that hang around Fat White Family hardly make them sound like the sort to take home to your mother, but maybe their own mums have a more twisted sense of humour. They'd need one.

Songs For Our Mothers, of course, sounds like nothing of the sort. The London fivepiece have always had their collective tongue jammed firmly in cheek – helps them get away with their nastier lyrical fancies – so there's little point taking anything at face value. Better to just go with the flow, if you've the stomach for it.

First album Champagne Holocaust set the tone in 2013, introducing a band who looked as if they'd ingested every illicit substance under the sun but who were still capable of playing some accomplished (if deliberately messy) psychedelic country rock. Their gigs were a different proposition, thrilling, confrontational and with an evens chance of seeing some usually concealed part of singer Lias Saoudi's anatomy.

Fat White Family are deft hands at creating an atmosphere

Like that debut, Songs For Our Mothers doesn't quite capture the live experience, but it sure as hell grasps their sleazy side. The default setting is creepy, dragging, twangy rock – notwithstanding the motorik break-outs of Tinfoil Deathstar and the PIL-like Whitest Boy On The Beach – an entire album pulled out of a horror film, with the cats' choir chorus of Love Is The Crack and the creaking interludes of Duce ramping up the terror. We Must Learn To Rise seems to crawl on its belly past muted horns and staggering guitar, before breaking into a chant last heard sung by the Wicked Witch of the West's army in The Wizard Of Oz.

Then there are the titles – Lebensraum, When Shipman Decides, Goodbye Goebbels – all designed to conjure an ugly picture and provoke a reaction. It's often hard to decipher much meaning behind Saoudi's mutters and leers, but Goodbye Goebbels is clearly a near-love song from Hitler to his propaganda minister, and you don't get many of them.

Probably for the best. You could call them childish, offensive and – yes – filthy, sick and antagonistic, but Fat White Family are deft hands at creating an atmosphere. Even if it's one you wouldn't want to hang around in for long, it feels unique, and Songs For Our Mothers confirms them as one of our most intriguing bands.