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Fat Day - IV

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Artist: Fat Day

Album: IV

Label: Dark Beloved Cloud

Review date: Aug. 1, 2002

Much can be gleaned about an artist by examining the processes and circumstances under which their works are produced. The guarded seclusion of J.D. Salinger and the advertising industry-influenced populism of Andy Warhol are good examples of situation influencing art. Boston’s Fat Day are no exception and Fat Day IV, their current offering on Douglas Wolk’s Dark Beloved Cloud label, is as much about process as it is about product.

Enclosed with copies of their last album Burrega was a post card asking listeners to write their own Fat Day song. With most bands you might expect this to be a an aimless joke or an idea that would never come to fruition, but all 21 songs on IV were written by fans who sent in said post card. Some of the song ideas were vague diagrams or a few words; some were detailed compositions with notation for each instrument. (All postcards used for the album can be viewed online at Fat Day’s website; definitely worth a look if you own the album, and sure to breed curiosity if you don’t). Pretty badass, right? This is only half the story.

While interpreting and recording the songs for the album a grave misfortune befell our rock warriors (it should be noted that the cover art features the band in full-on Viking garb—beards, swords, etc. (and it should be secondly noted that the band also thank their "Helmet Tech", "Tusk Support" and others who made the album possible)). The band awoke one day to find their entire studio flooded. You’re thinking “that sucks,” but then consider the flood occurred when a sewage pipe burst, and that Fat Day went in to clean the shit off their equipment (literally) and persevere. Textbook punk rock, or as the band put it, “so Fat Day it hurts.”

Ok, enough about the process—let’s talk music. IV contains plenty of the bizzaro power chord dirges that epitomize the Fat Day sound, like the chunky skronk of “Brown Bunny,” to which it should come as no surprise the only lyrics are “Brown Bunny’s gonna whoop your ass!” A similar agro-bliss treatment is given to “Chris Bickel is The Most Beautiful Naked Man I’ve Ever Seen” (penned by the well endowed Mr. Bickel himself, of course), “Meaty Boner” and others. On IV the band also departs from their trademark combustion engine sound every now and then to take stabs at some twisted electronics and studio hijinx. “Cootie Catcher” is a weird mix of wind chime bells, teleporter sounding bleeps and depraved yelping. “Burritos As Big As Your Head” begins with a schizoid laser-gun synth before the main lyric break: “ball sack, ball sack a wonderful fruit.” More lasers ensue and the end comes when someone yells “X-man!” Finally, in post-song silence we hear a deadpan “my helmet was fucked up.” Awesome.

I am going to shut up about the songs because I could go on and describe every one in detail: They all rock. If you want to know more pick up IV; it is completely worth it.

Long live Fat Fucking Day.

By Marc Gilman

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