Family Fodder Savoir Faire: The Best Of (Director’s Cut) LP

FAMILY FODDER pretty much existed in their own separate orbit of the late ’70s/early ’80s UK underground—too genuinely strange and experimental to fit in as a straight new wave act, too much disposable-pop bounciness to be embraced by the era’s more serious/dogmatic post-punk factions (Rough Trade apparently rejected them twice). They operated as a CRASS-like quasi-hippie musical collective, but their mish-mash of spacious dub nods, avant-garde tape manipulations, warped psychedelia, and skewed outsider pop sounded more like a meeting of the minds between THIS HEAT and the FLYING LIZARDS (both of whom were FAMILY FODDER collaborators at various points), by way of HOMOSEXUALS/AMOS AND SARA-style anarchic UK DIY. “Best of” collections can often be a bit of a cop-out, but for a band this all-over-the-map, Savoir Faire serves a practical purpose, bringing edited highlights from their early years (1979 to 1982—they’re still actively releasing music!) into focus when the unabridged discography might seem like too many different reflections in one broken mirror. A sampling from this LP-length crash course: sing-song femme vocals and blasts of funhouse organ on the bizarro new wave smash hits “Savoir Faire” and “Debbie Harry,” coldwave minimalism on “Der Leiermann,” the surreal and RESIDENTS-esque electro-damaged “Playing Golf (With My Flesh Crawling),” coolly French-accented chants and Afrobeat-inspired rhythms in “Cerf Volant,” the piano-spiked, early ENO-descended art-glam of “Cold Wars.” It’s all worthy of a much deeper and more thorough dive, but this is a pretty spot-on entry point for the uninitiated.