Thousands of goth kids in Windsor, Connecticut and metal bands in waiting have to be crushed that four soft-singing, gently experimental San Franciscans got to the name first. But not being German death rock or best buds with Anal Cunt, Fuck has lived in relative obscurity since their 1994 debut single, "Monkey Beauty Shotgun." They enjoyed a few years in the limelight in Matador’s heyday, but it didn’t seem anyone back then gave much of a fuck about their releases for that label, 1997’s Pardon My French and 1998’s Conduct. But these two laid the groundwork for Fuck’s career of being the band everyone knows of but has never really heard, except for appearances on random throwaway compilations.
Fortunately, the mellow tendencies of Those Are Not My Bongos may push the four piece a few notches up the indie totem pole. A three-song single last year hinted at the hushed beauty that this full-length achieves, its acoustic sparseness akin to Yo La Tengo’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out, complete with slow drumming, lethargic strums and deep confessional vocals. But if all of Those Are Not My Bongos‘s sixteen tracks were so quiet, they’d fall directly into the snooze-fest pitfall that Yo La did. The record is laden with pick-up tracks, like the plugged-in "Hideout," and trialing with upright bass is evident on the self-explanatory "Jazz Idiodyssey."
Though melodically adventurous, Timmy Prudhomme’s singing and lyrics run the course from mediocre to intriguing. "Does the penis offend you?" he poorly deadpans on opener "Motherfuckeroos." "Well, hey you Motherfuckeroos, get over it." But he perks interest later on, speaking of Betty and Veronica’s escapades with Jughead on the standout lo-fi "Her Plastic Acupuncture Foot," where he croons, "Fingers locked in caramel corn goo/ When cool things happen I think of you." His deep, cold voice often works well, particularly with the slower arrangements.
Those Are Not My Bongos was recorded over a month last year in Anacona, Italy, approximately ten years after Fuck’s inception. Though the record has a few immediately apparent flaws, it’s atmosphere and hushed, varied instrumentation make it their most mature and realized record to date. When on "How to Say" Prudhomme croons, "When I kiss you/ When I touch you/ When I shout to the stars up above you/ I love you," it seems apparent that this band is very grown up. Maybe they’ll have to change their name after all.