San Fransisco’s *Fuck *are nothing if not enigmatically cracked-up. Flitting around somewhere between Pavement-ish pristine panpot play, dinky-dong Belle and Sebastianisms and Gorky’s ghoulish naïve piquancy, the band’s entire catalogue is a cosy and consistent summer-nostalgic soundtrack to golden skinslurping encounters.
And when their newest LP begins with a harp arpeggiating over the lyrics "Does the penis offend you / Do the female charms alarm? / Hey you Motherfuckers / We call your hand / Hey you Motherfuckeroos / Get over it" it’s impossible not to be immediately drawn into a world wherein sexuality and subtle subversion are embraced with the graceful stoned smile of better-world beauty. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is as close a description of Fuck’s artistry as you are likely to get.
As ever, the fuckers throw in whimsical, wrenching string turns (‘A Conversation) alongside neophyte garageisms (‘A Vow’, ‘Hideout’) whilst the lyrics range from the mischeivous to the downright filthy. Stealing songs from the saints and slipping in the sins of the sparked-out, Fuck are a band for whom life is never as much fun when love comes easy.
Happily their dusky jazz workouts are kept on the minimalist side (Jazz Idiodyssey is around one and a half minutes of spazzed-in stand-up bassing, and all the better for its brevity) through an album of righteous quality that breezes and sings with confidence and cerulean sonic colour.
Occasionally the drugged-up dimensionplay can be ever-so slightly in-jokey – I mean, what the hell is ‘Olives vs Cherries’ all about? With a languid guitar riff mashed up with samples that sound something like ET farting in a bontempi factory, it jars jaggedly and jolts the listener out of the supine haze of the rest of the album. Nasty.
Overwhelmingly though, ‘Those Are Not My Bongos’ proves that soul and softness through the music of the spheres, the smokesmilin atmosphere, the ether and the strawhat sunrise can be beautiful, tender and unabashed, even in these most stridently selfish of suckmeI’mscum times. Captivating acoustic backbones and reverb-soaked seashore drumming undulates within a soundscape of close-whisper vocals and criminally lovely arrangements on this album to create a sublime ache of melt-in-the-mind musical amaretti.