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Fuck | Insound Tour Support EP (Insound)
The name doesn't help matters much; you'd be forgiven for thinking that Fuck are a bunch of shock rockers, touring mates with GWAR, but, as this fine compilation attests, the band's style is a spare, tense, understated, at times playful, guitar-based (indie) rock, on nodding terms with Yo La Tengo and the Grifters. After a two-album stint at Matador where they recorded the consistently great Pardon my French, Fuck have now decamped to Smells Like, have a new album out (Cupid's Cactus) and have released this EP - albeit a 24 track one - which serves as a companion piece to that record and as a useful introduction to an underrated band. The songs were collected from a variety of sources - obscure out-of-print singles, live recordings, ultra-limited cassettes, their vast archive of unreleased material - spanning 1993 to 2000, and as such it's a mixed bag, in terms of song quality and recording fidelity, but for the most part it's an enjoyable romp through their back pages. My least favourite moments on the record are when they are at their most throwaway (the twangy instrumental Agent 389, Me So Horny, Dawnjii Poo, a Dr Seuss cover version for Dutch radio) but they were only meant to be found lurking on the b-sides of small label 7"s in the first place, so I'll forgive them that. Much better are tracks like Brazen, where they brazenly ape the latino surf buzz of the Pixies, the fantastic brooding Sweater (again an unreleased gem), the taut, sinewy Last Thing, and their Jagger/Richards cover for John Peel's 60th birthday present CD, She's a Rainbow. Certainly, this EP could have been trimmed to make a standout 12 track EP, sorry, LP, but that defeats the object; it's surely far better to have this catch-all release of one-off singles that probably disappeared before you had time to say the F-word. (Available from www.insound.com)

Steve Raywood
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001

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