Idol Fodder Babytalk [EP]

[Slender Means Society; 2008]

Styles: post-punk also-ran
Others: Family Fodder, This Heat

You! Over there! You like post-punk, right? Joy Division? Gang of Four? PIL? Oh, those are too typical for you. Josef K? Pere Ubu? Swell Maps? Pop Group? Family Fodder? Wait, what? Surely you’ve heard Family Fodder. Maybe you’ve heard “Dinosaur Sex” or “Savior Faire” or one of their other singles on some compilation somewhere. Maybe you knew that two-thirds of This Heat have contributed to the group. But maybe you were off-put by the light-heartedness and quirk of it all, because you were in a pissy mood and wanted to stay in that pissy mood. You hated it. You didn’t hate it? Well, for better or worse, Family Fodder main man Alig Fodder has come out of relative silence and put together the Babytalk EP (under a new moniker, Idol Fodder) just for you, lucky devil.

The world has changed since we last heard from Fodder, and it seems so has his world, as Babytalk takes concern with childbirth. The lullabye-like “The Onliest Thing” begins the life-cycle-as-song-cycle on a high note, with Alig and former Fodder singer Dominique Levillain's daughter, Darlini Singh, singing a simple duet over sawing cello. Never one to show his cards, Fodder pulls quite a few tricks to perhaps keep things unpredictable and diverse (read: scattershot) throughout the remainder of Babytalk. “Earlimusix” is an unflattering copycat rip of Fripp and Eno, and “Infamy” reminds us that trip-hop happened since we last heard from Family Fodder. Fodder also makes it hard to forget that Pro Tools also happened during his absence, as Babytalk sounds less like it was recorded in the womb and more like a vacuum-sealed can. (It’s a bit of a shame that “The Onliest Thing” is the Onliest track to feature actual strings.)

After a run of songs that effectively serve as a father's best wishes, Babytalk ends with the peculiar “Death and the Maiden,” whose protagonist has a tendency of roaming from place to place and taking her clothes off. Whatever the meaning, it stands apart from what came before and feels incomplete without the presence of Darlini Singh. What Fodder has going for him is that the creation of the bulk of the Babytalk EP was taken with great care, and the sentiment is well-meaning -- qualities shared with a baby crib.

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