Pick up any story on the San Francisco/NYC band F-K and I promise you it will begin with an ode to how silly and/or cool this band is for calling themselves the dirtiest of dirty words in the English language. Sure, in a sub-moronic sort of way naming your band F-K is f-king funny! How is it that it’s the late 90s and only now a band has done it?
They titled their first, self-released record, Pretty … Slow and then went so far as to name their Matador Records debut Pardon My French. Much to my appreciation, their sense of humor comes at a time in modern music when a lot of what’s out there is humorless, homogenized, and deathly boring. Once beyond the obvious cheekiness of their name and record titles, F-K has an abundance of unique sounds and lovely lyrics. Dead serious, the music is beautiful, intricate, and exceedingly fun to listen to.
Conduct, their newest record and second full-length for Matador, once again contains a massive collection of great material. F-K sounds more or less like an indie-rock band in the vein of such greats as Yo La Tengo, Codeine, and Sebadoh to the casual listener, but they frequently mix up their songwriting to incorporate numerous other musical traditions within their post-punk sound. Guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, pedal-steel, and sampled sounds, (among other varied and indecipherable noises and instruments) all find themselves in the mix and being used in unconventional ways. F-K creates music that mines familiar territory but never manages to feel cliched or plagiarized.
Over the course of seventeen tracks, the band create pretty, dreamy pop songs, and deftly crush hearts with frequent warped takes on down-so-low country and folk forms. F-K fights with inner urban-cowboy blues, and knows when (just as you’re falling asleep to “Get Over Him”) to blast into the obnoxious punk rock of “Alice, All I Want Is Alice.” Whatever they do, it is always done with a lazy, witty flair and a penchant for succinctly describing the human condition. Get F-Ked.