Butterfingers – Breakfast At Fatboys
Even if you’d never had the (good) fortune to hear Butterfingers, the title of this album gives their game away succinctly (for the younger kiddies in the audience, it puns a classic Oz rock record from years gone by). Hinting at one long piss-take – it should be remembered that their name basically means that they are one big screw up – in the great Aussie tradition, Breakfast At Fatboys is a victory of style equalling substance.
Although it opens with the standard tired clichíƒÂ© of rappers talking up their skills on the mic – albeit, set to some genuinely fresh and open-minded music – from there it spirals off so quickly that by the end of the album you’ve only just finished clearing your head. Cataloguing daily woes (a la their two breakout hits on the ‘youth’ network, I Love Work and Everytime) or slagging off others generally belongs to the punk set; but here Butterfingers put good use to the charming turns of phrase we Aussies have; dickhead, crap, bullshit, piss off. It’s no exercise in vulgarity (alright, there is that but-) – it’s just the clever use of your boring, frustrating daily life set to tight rhymes.
Though not as incendiary as other JJJ faves Hilltop Hoods and The Herd – they were never meant to be (just evidence the ‘but I keep it light hearted’ confession in the second song) – Butterfingers triumph merely through the charming unlikely (if not proven) avenues of cheap casio tones and dirty garage drum beats. Not necessarily Mike Skinner but far from Dizzee Rascal, if you get what I’m saying. A sort of home made, organic feel, though with songs polished enough to not feel amateur. Bedsit, we used to call it, when dealing with bands like The The.
What is so beautiful – and unmarketable – about Butterfingers is the fact that they are almost two bands in one. There is the hip hop element and then there is the pop/punk strain that peeps through in nearly every song. Or just totally smashes through in other tracks, Girl From Gore. Smell You On Me is vintage The Hard-Ons, not just the riffs but also the words. Fantastic stuff which makes you lust for those old days of Waterfront 7”s but energises them enough to not make you feel like a sad old man out of touch with the times (even if you are).
If Eminem’s alter ego, Slim Shady – stick with me here, I am going somewhere with this! – is meant to be pure comic book, then Butterfingers is nearly all alter ego. Surely no one really takes lines like I don’t want to spend my money on clothes, Want to spend it n booze and ho’s at face value, do they? It’s the same with the serious Oedipal complexes being worked out on the album. Yo Mama, Sorry, Everytime – they’re all funny, but ummmm a bit too graphic for most Australians. Of Yo Mama, it should be noted that this track alone is worthy of breakout success because its tune is as great as any of the past few years. Stacy’s Mom might ever cower in its shadow. If commercial radio ever got a hold of it, it would hit number 1 in weeks. Unfortunately, if the only printable words remain Yo mama’s on the top of my things to do list then my pipe dreams will have to line up with my ‘things to do list’. Ahem.
It’s impossible to say how great this album will be in a year when some of the humour – no denying, it is a large part of the enjoyment – has worn thin. But for now you would be a fool not to think it as a serious contender for Australian album of the year.