Oh, Fuck. After eight years of lurking on the fringe of the Amerindie scene and boasting a direct, sure-to-get-some
-publicity name (a successor of such f-word milestones as Leaving Trains' Fuck
, Big Black's Songs About Fucking
, and the Dead Kennedys' "Too Drunk to Fuck"), the Oakland quartet is giving up touring for good. To commemorate this retirement from the road, Fuck (singer-guitarists Timmy Prudhomme and Geoff Soule, singer-bassist Ted Ellison, and singer-drummer Kyle Statham) is mounting the Fuck Farewell Tour, pretty much hitting every market that matters. Ironically, Fuck's music isn't a thrusting, in-and-out ram job. Rather, it's a slow, wistful grind akin to former labelmates Yo La Tengo's romantic, ethereal dreampop. Its latest album, Cupid's Cactus
, finds the band on Smells Like Records, which is run by Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley. And the comparisons with that band also arise, since Fuck is more concerned with atmosphere than the actual song. Not that there isn't melody in the grooves -- there is; you just have to listen for it. The Fuck experience is a calming one, more brain-stroking than dick-wanking. Its best work, like that found on 1997's Pardon My French
(which featured one of the finest kazoo solos of the decade), wraps myriad instruments into a series of textures and vibes. Live, the band hauls piano, organ, harmonica, and bongos on stage. Cupid's Cactus
is a more esoteric piece, a brief (not even 35 minutes) exploration of the space between space (think Can filtered through modern indie rock). It's heady, smart, and sometimes pretentious stuff, but never patronizing to its audience. The guys plan to record together in the future, but insist this will be the last time to see Fuck live on stage.