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Savoire Faire: Best Of

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Album Review

Family Fodder released two extremely obscure but oddly delightful albums in the early '80s, Monkey Banana Kitchen and All Styles. With the blessing of the loose-knit London-based group's leader (and sole constant member), Alig Pearce, the New York indie Dark Beloved Cloud gathered the best of those two discs, plus some singles and previously unreleased tracks, onto the 16-track Savoir Faire: The Best of Family Fodder. Kicking off with the title track, a brilliant organ-based pop song with bilingual verses sung by Dominique Levillain, the album proceeds to try to encapsulate this collective's curiously wide-ranging pursuits (that album wasn't called All Styles for nothing), but ends up sticking mostly to the group's quirky pop songs rather than its dub or musique concrète experiments. Of course, it takes a certain artistic fearlessness to cover Blondie (a weird and ultimately unsuccessful deconstruction of "Sunday Girl" with coy electronically processed vocals and a middle eight sung by a child), Franz Schubert, and Erik Satie (done inna reggae stylee, yet) on the same album.

Customer Reviews

All over the map

but "Savoir Faire" is a classique!

Classic avant-pop

The predeccesors to Stereolab (English chap with French chanteuse), Family Fodder is a hidden treasure for those who own their recordings. While the body of their work remains on vinyl from the UK, this CD offers some of those gems to the non-waxphiles of today. I will never forget the first time I heard Unrest's cover version of "Debbie Harrry" renamed "Winona Ryder" and put it on repeat for 10 times and then had to find the original recording. "Savoir Faire," "Playing Golf," "Debbie Harrry," and "Film Music" are pop perfections from another planet.

Underexposed PostPunk Masterpiece (that you can finally buy without importing!!!!!!!!)

To put it plainly: this album is interesting, dynamic, moving, and witty. The percussion, guitar, random synthy effects, and vocals = awesome. Family Fodder's sound leans more towards the Magazine spectrum of postpunk. I'd even say moments remind me of Was Not Was and The Flying Lizards. Many of the tracks on this album are super catchy and fun but stand up to repeated listenings. The lyrics/song topics are excellent, too. "Cold Wars," for example, compares a relationship to the Cold War (you can put this track on mix tapes for your exes), "Debbie Harry" is about being obsessed with Debbie Harry, and "Playing Golf (With My Flesh Crawling)" adds a bit of depression to the mix. Plus, haven't you always wanted to dance to a 9 minute song about dinosaur sex?


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '00s

Family Fodder was less a band than a never-ending collective of musicians messing with tapes in the basement of a London flat. Begun in 1979 by Alig Pearce, a label called Small Wonder released their first 7" when they still went by the name Te Deum. (Interestingly, the other two singles released concurrently by the label were the first Cure single and Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead.") The band was led by odd splices of tape, dub effects, and Dominique Levillain's chanteuse vocals. Influenced by Syd...
Full Bio
Savoire Faire: Best Of, Family Fodder
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