Thanks to the last seven or eight years worth of reissues, and a handful of bands who have taken up the torch, it's been made blindingly clear that the wave of pop music coming hard on the heels of punk's initial blast- the obvious and suspect "post-punk" – was/is one of the healthiest and most innovative in all of rock history. Abrasion met dance, dub wallowed around with hints of avant-garde experimentation, disco's rubbery rhythms got used subversively and some brilliant records got made: Public Image Ltd.’s Metal Box, This Heat's Deceit, the Fall's Dragnet, the Pop Group's Y. Yet, it's largely been the result of recent repackaging that's allowed folks to finally hear Arthur Russell, ESG or the Homosexuals, since these bands' records were often badly distributed, pressed in small quantities, or simply ignored the first time around.
London's Family Fodder, more a sprawling, protean collective than a band in any real sense, snatched up some of the above elements and lots more for a collection of music as potent as it is unclassifiable. So you don't like the geeky French pop of "Love Song" or the silliness of "Dinosaur Sex"? Then stick around for the warped, backwards fuzz of "Le Grande Merchant Loup" or the fried gloop of "Banana." Listen to the entire double disc collection and hear more styles, often within the same song, than most bands discover in a 30-year career. Besides, how many bands ever turned Erik Satie into dub?
Held together like a balsa-wood fort by Alig "Fodder" Pearce, Family Fodder cranked out a few excellent LPs and 7”s between 1979-83 before folding, not that too many people noticed at the time. There was some indie chart action, thanks to songs such as "Savoir Faire" or "Playing Golf," and those tunes are here, as is the bulk of perhaps their best album, 1980's Monkey Banana Kitchen.
Family Fodder's only dilemma, and it’s a debatable one, is that the band’s goofiness can turn obnoxious rather quickly. Not a serious problem for a 7” single, but it can be a bit much when lumped together over two discs. Still, if one track teeters too close to unforgiving silliness, the next will likely make up for it. Jungle Records has done quite a service rescuing Family Fodder from obscurity.