"Monster riffage, shredding guitars, vein-bursting screams and intense, breakneck-speed double-bass-drum action -- ladies and gentlemen, the most aptly named band in America ... Fuuuuuuccckkkkk!" Or not. Sounding nothing like you'd expect a band called Fuck to sound, these San Franciscans have been skillfully crafting unpretentious Velvet Underground-ish quiet guitar rock for some time now.Fuck's latest release, Cupid's Cactus (Smells Like Records) is a fine example of the genre, falling somewhere between a less droning Yo La Tengo and a not-quite-as-sun-baked Giant Sand. Instead of the glorious excess of the former or the guitar heroics of the latter, though, Fuck rely mostly on their songwriting wits to get their point across. Sensitive without being maudlin, and deceptively simple at times, the songs on Cupid's Cactus nonetheless have an underlying darkness to them that makes for compelling listening. Only on the garage-rockin' "Never Alone" does the band let loose, hushed lullabies like "Panties Off" being more the norm.
A number of Fuck songs, too, sound half-finished, but in all the right ways; the band seems willing to stumble around sonically before finding its way again. These are the types of songs that can be the most rewarding or frustrating in a live setting, and kudos to the Rocket Bar for giving Fuck and bands like them a place to play. These sorts of shows came through Cicero's Basement twice a week in the mid-'90s but are all too scarce on the current conservative club scene. If for no other reason than to encourage the Rocket Bar to keep taking chances, this show is highly recommended. In other words, you should go, for Fuck's sake. (Sorry.)