Skin crawling. Vaguely disgusting. Uncomfortable. And utterly mesmerising.
Fat White Family might sound like the newest E! Network television franchise, but they are the latest band to churn out of the NME hype machine – and if the British six-piece are willing to play the industry game (which seems rather unlikely at this point), their brand of droning blues-country-psych-rock might just make them the unlikely rock and roll posterboys of the mid-2010s.
To hear the Brixton-based collective on record is to have the hairs raise on the back of your neck, flecks of an American deep south backwater hillbilly town rising through the goopy mess of sinister and disorienting organ, shuffling percussion, plinky blues-based guitar; to see the band is to understand them more. The unsettling clip for ‘Cream Of The Young’ opens with the The Fat White Family spelled out in raw sausages as the band sit before table laden with a banquet of raw seafood, pig heads and animal offal, smearing their faces and hands with cream as a stripper gyrates just out of shot.
Frontman Lias Saudi strips to tight black underwear on stage, shrieking into the faces of the first row. Hollow-faced and maniacal-looking Saul Adamczewski, strumming a coffin-shaped guitar, sports a missing front tooth. The music is a tense and uncomfortable listen, simple and stark beginnings descending into guitar squall as Saudi drones lyrics of misanthropy and taboo, sex and darkness. Live shows spiral into madness, a clutch of sweaty humans on tiny stages jamming their debaucherock into wild, thrashing punk-tinged opuses; boozy, druggy, unfriendly and an assault on as many senses as humanly possible. A spectacle in the way a car crash is a spectacle, a perverse pleasure is gained in the viewing of the slightly taboo and somewhat foul. It is not pretty in any sense of the word, yet their very ugliness is their calling card.
They fully embrace the filth they create sonically and visually, Adamczewski proclaiming a new album – to be released this year on their own imprint label, Without Consent – to chase “That clammy, seedy sound… The stuff that makes your skin crawl.”
They describe their music as “Manson family jams,” and openly talk in interviews about interest in the Manson murders; as mentioned, there is a huge essence of the cult-like in the music, droning and repetitive and off-putting and downright scary at points.
“Rock’n’rollers are supposed to be close to death, aren’t they?” Saudi said to The Guardian. “It’s your job to be out there on the edge, pummelling your body with weird shit.”
To be honest, “weird shit” is about the best descriptor there is to describe Fat White Family. Album ‘Champagne Holocaust’ is out now, and with their next album to drop via their own label, it won’t be long before Fat White Family are on a collision course with good taste all over the world.