The Boston Phoenix
February 5 - 12, 1998

[Loacl Rock]

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Fat Day

by Douglas Wolk

Fat Day For about two months, it was my morning routine of choice: get up, put on the Fat Day album, go nuts for 20 minutes, face the day. Burrega (on Fat Day guitarist/BU Law School student Doug DeMay's label 100% Breakfast!) is the most thrilling hardcore record since Little Richard's "Keep a-Knockin'." It's elliptical, tart, unpredictable -- also loud and hard and fast and tight. And like the band's '95 debut, My Name Is I Hate You (100% Breakfast), it is a record -- LP only, thank you very much. Equal parts 30-second punk explosions and 30-second mindbending sound experiments, it puts the notion of formulaic hardcore to shame.

Pretty much the only survivor of the original wave of Boston "chimp" groups from a few years ago (remember Kudgel? Trollin Withdrawal? Toddler?), and still the center of a scene based around the Somerville house where three-quarters of them live, Fat Day used to be just a solid, smart-assed punk band. But they've cranked up both the sophistication of their content and the brutality of their execution. The lyrics on Burrega are terse, indirect, furious, and often very funny, interrupted by the occasional shit fit from lead howler Matt Pakulski ("YOUR -- STU -- PID -- BAND -- SOUNDS -- LIKE -- THIS ---- WHY -- CAN'T -- YOU -- JUST -- SHUT -- UP"); they include settings of a passage by Jim Thompson, a fan letter the band got, and a little poem called "If I Were Fat Day." The music flickers between tangled, tricky rhythms and way-out musique concrète. The band attack each song as if they wanted to crush it into dust and had only seconds to do so.

On stage, though they stick mostly to actual song-type numbers, Fat Day work the catharsis/invention dialectic expertly. Sometimes wearing costumes, sometimes wearing nothing at all, they plunge straight from one rabid songlet into another, but you never know when they'll invite, say, a guest shofar player up on stage with them. Pakulski stalks the stage, long-haired and glowering, while the other three lock in and pummel; they're a kick to watch.

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