Review of Condo Fuck’s album ‘Fuckbook’ released through Matador.
Having pretty much created and defined the lo-fi aesthetic to modern music ever since their conception in 1984, Yo La Tengo can be forgiven for trying almost anything once, no matter how ludicrous the idea might seem in principle. Did we say Yo La Tengo? Shucks, the game’s up I guess, as Condo Fucks is basically the no holds barred, fun-loving, foot-to-the-floor side ‘project’ – strictly in inverted commas – of YLT. And you know what? It actually works a treat!
Forget Simon Cowell and his assorted collection of rock star wives and eighties has-beens declared ‘You’ve made that song your own!’ after yet another contestant performed vocal aneurysms over many a Beatles classic; this collection of scuzzed out, noise peppered cover versions is simply magnificent in its choice of cuts as well as overall execution. Sounding not unlike a rehearsal in one of the band’s garages – which knowing Yo La Tengo’s past history would probably be the case – this is about as unpretentiously back-to-basics as it gets, like The Ramones if they’d conducted a musical history lesson or modern day racketeers The Hunches having a stab at emulating their fathers’ record collections.
When Kill Ugly Pop bestowed us with their ‘Butcher The Classics’ debacle in 1987, they probably weren’t expecting such open-heart surgery to sound as extensively reinvigorating as this. ‘Fuckbook’ doesn’t so much insert a new aorta into proceedings, but re-aligns the veins and clavicles as well. Turning The Small Faces ‘What’cha Gonna Do About It’ – already covered in quite amateurish fashion by the Sex Pistols many years ago – into a rip-roaring stomp that even the late Steve Marriott would probably have had trouble keeping still to, while obscure Beach Boys track ‘Shut Down’ is given two airings, one with lyrics and one without, both at seemingly breakneck speed and ultimately bearing little resemblance to the original composition.
Elsewhere, Slade’s ‘Gudbuy T’ Jane’ is bastardised to a pulp, while The Kinks ‘This Is Where I Belong’ and The Flamin’ Groovies ‘Dog Meat’ both sound as vital and incendiary as Black Lips at their puerile best. While ‘Fuckbook’ isn’t what you’d call an ideal substitute for a new ‘proper’ Yo La Tengo, it’s an enjoyable journey where tongues remain firmly placed in cheeks. Just don’t take ‘Fuckbook’ too seriously.