Fat White Family

Champagne Holocaust

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The Fat White Family would doubtless be appalled if someone called their music folk-rock, but there is a very real "sitting around the campfire" feel to their debut album, Champagne Holocaust. In this case, the musicians are sitting around the campfire because they're too drunk, shabby, and bloody-minded to go anywhere else as they meander through their exercises in primitive blues-based noise. The image is clearest on acoustic-based numbers like "Garden of the Numb" and "Who Shot Lee Oswald?," but even when the Fat White Family strap on their electric guitars for the relatively poppy "Is It Raining in Your Mouth?" or fire up their drum machine on "Cream of the Young," this music has a raw, shambling feeling, as if several of the musicians could keel over and pass out from too much cheap gin at any given moment. Not unlike their kindred spirits the Country Teasers, the Fat White Family trade in deliberately crude music -- there are several moments here that make it clear they can play better than this, but choose not to -- and have no qualms about offending their audience, whether they're cheerfully discussing killing your kids during a visit to Disneyland or challenging your mom's sense of sexual propriety. (By comparison, their celebration of their own leather fetishism sounds more playful than they probably intended.) In short, Champagne Holocaust sounds like the work of foul-mouthed, ill-tempered drunks, but that's also clearly what they had in mind, and in its own way this album is an off-putting success -- it's hardly everyone's cup of tea, but the Fat White Family wanted nothing less. Call it satire, and don't play it around your friends who complain about those Juggalo kids who hang out by the convenience store.

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