sat 25/05/2024

CD: Fat White Family - Serfs Up! | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Fat White Family - Serfs Up!

CD: Fat White Family - Serfs Up!

Psychedelic pranksters fall into boring self-indulgence

Serfs Up: Excitement down

Fat White Family’s second album, 2016’s Songs for Our Mothers, caused something of a stir in indie circles and even generated a fair amount of radio play with its wide-eyed exuberance and chaotic motorik sounds.

However, after the musical madness of three years ago, comes the sonic crash of Serfs Up! Bonkers psychedelic sounds are now firmly out of the window for Peckham’s Lias and Nathan Saoudi and their musical confederates. In their place come an electronics-heavy, purposely unpolished dirge with half-heard, reedy vocals.

This is even more disappointing given the promising song titles, such as “Tastes Good With the Money” and “Vagina Dentata”, that this amusingly named album has to offer. Indeed, even the lyrics offer some humour with Lias Saoudi claiming to be “Beating myself to death with a bottle of orange Lucozade” among other things in “Rock Fishes”. However, it just isn’t enough.

That isn’t to say that Fat White Family haven’t managed to throw up some interesting sounds here. “Vagina Dentata” sounds like the Television Personalities laying down a tribute to Barry White over a slow-paced disco groove. While “Fringe Runner” has the feel of Cabaret Voltaire with its ghostly industrial New Beat groove and “I Believe in Something Better” has something of Gary Numan’s early sound. Ultimately, Serfs Up! just doesn’t cut the mustard though and Baxter Dury’s “cor blimey, guv’nor” spoken word monologue in “Tastes Good with the Money” even sounds like it could have been sampled from one of Guy Richie’s gangster films.

Serfs Up! is an album that promises much but unfortunately basic beats and uninspiring synth grooves coupled with less than forceful vocals don’t provide enough heft to encourage much listener engagement. In fact, when Lias asks “When I leave, where will you go?” in “When I Leave”, the answer from this listener is pretty much anywhere else.

Basic beats and uninspiring synth grooves coupled with less than forceful vocals don’t provide enough heft to encourage much listener engagement


Editor Rating: 
Average: 1 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters