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Fat Day - Unf! Unf!

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Artist: Fat Day

Album: Unf! Unf!

Label: Load

Review date: Oct. 25, 2004

The Boston hardcore group Fat Day are distant, pubescent, tantrum-prone cousins to Japan’s Melt Banana. Both groups have been around forever, making short, loud, herky-jerky songs with superficially silly lyrics that are a lot better crafted and more knowing than they initially seem. Unf! Unf! is Fat Day’s first LP on Load, if it can be called an LP at all: there are 23 songs, but the disc is only 18 minutes long, and many of those minutes are occupied by retro, Nintendo-style keyboard interludes.

Distance = speed x time, and Fat Day manage to go a long way by offsetting their lack of duration with a surplus of speed. In some respects, they’re less subtle than most bands of their ilk (such as the Ex Models or the aforementioned Melt Banana), in that Fat Day didn’t pay a lot of attention to the production of the album or to the details of its instrumental parts. The singing sounds like an adolescent throwing a fit. But those things are beside the point, since part of Fat Day’s appeal is that they dare the listener to meet them on their own terms, and then they sneak details in the back door.

Most of those details have to do with Fat Day’s lyrics, which are simultaneously minimal and wide-ranging, juvenile and intelligent. As we might expect with songs so short, Fat Day tunes have fewer words than the traditional song, and occasionally those words consist of only a tossed off sentence or two. The entire lyric of “If Humans Had No Poops,” for example, is "If humans had no poops, only farts, then all your shit would be out in public.”

For all their scatological humor, though, most of the lyrics have enough in them to suggest that Fat Day are doing a lot of thinking, even if they never come right out and say what they mean. “Caloric” describes someone – or is it just calories themselves? – being "done in by carbohydrates." “Beah” warns, "Millions of whites don’t make fights right." “Pragma” asks, "Michael Jackson. Prince. Madonna. Why do you take so long to die?"

Fat Day never get much more specific than that, but they don’t need to. Their music bursts with disjointed urgency, and their lyrics get so close to so many hot topics (Atkins, American imperialism, celebrity culture) that it feels like the band are just managing to keep themselves from ranting away. Unf! Unf! thus sounds like frustrated protest music for a segment of the population that’s smart, ironic and confused.

By Charlie Wilmoth

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