FBC Fabric & Reindeer - It's not who you know, it's whom you know.

With the precision of the grammar in the album's title, FBC Fabric and Reindeer lay waste to popular culture and our capitalist, trivia-obsessed society. Theirs is a determinedly pessimistic viewpoint: a world of ground-down souls, where the rich exploit the poor, television shows encourage contestants to do each other over for fame and money, and the only relief lies in the swipe of a credit card or casual sex. Don't look here for a warm glow.

Musically, It's not who you know, it's whom you know. is a blend of hip-hop beats, scratching and often grungy guitar; Mask Of Sanity could almost be cut from UNKLE's Psyence Fiction. As much running time is given over to instrumental breaks as rapping, with the eleven minute, slow-building Please Call Stella perhaps the reason behind their acknowledgment to Godspeed You Black Emperor!

Reindeer's rattled delivery is sometimes incomprehensible. A visit to the album site may be necessary to appreciate the beauty of his words. Moments of poetry ("look at the night sky through the clouds tonight, like diamonds in an oil pool dancing" - Rub the Calm One) sit with devastating rants ("thirty eight hour a week white collar multinational accomplices catch live internet executions and go paintballing on the weekend" - Shake the Hand of the Unsuspecting Victim). By the end, however, you may be wishing for some Mike Skinner-style humour to lighten things up. This feels very much like living in the serial killer flick Seven. "Another rainy day after so many makes for that grim movie sensation." Indeed.

FBC Fabric and Reindeer are an interesting addition to the UK hip-hop scene, even if at the same time they seem wholly remote from it. It's not who you know, it's whom you know. is a challenging, intelligent and unique album, but the consistently downbeat tone will be enough to put many listeners off. For the brave, though, definitely an act to keep an eye on.

You can download unreleased track How It Happened here.



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