Fuck – Pardon My French

5 out of 5

Label: Matador

Produced by: Fuck

I don’t automatically find out of context, or over-used swear words to be amusing.  Dolling up the word ‘fuck’ with cutesy, kid-drawn animal figures doesn’t automatically guarantee my laughter.  And I think, despite their rabble-rousing name, that Fuck – the band – feels similarly, as their albums don’t lean into the crass vein of cheap humor, as other attention-grabbing acts might (and do); it’s not that their work is bereft of giggles – far from it – but it tends to be goofy, and, for the most part, it’s sprinkled in just the right amount about their releases to allow them to get away with plenty of straight-laced, affecting songs, sneaking in smirking lines or tracks here or there to prevent a listener from ever taking it too seriously.  It’s a tricky balance, and one the group has surprisingly pulled off over several albums.

With Pardon My French being their best.

Kicking off with a pair of Fuck’s best pop tracks – Li’l Hilda, leading into Fuck Motel – the album then segues into some of their darkest work, with the excellent trio Le Serpent, Bestest Friend, and Compromise.  From thereon out, the album gently sweeps between sweet, silly, and sad, alternating similarly between dirge, ditty, and rock, sticking mostly to the slocore tag which usually describes the group, but keeping track times pretty limited so that the pace doesn’t wear one down.  And all throughout, there’s that mindfulness of how to apply their humor, peeking through when it suddenly seems like things are getting pretty dour – Dirty Brunette – and able to go simple and goofy when it seems right, such as light-hearted closer Scribble Dibble.

Pardon My French used to be my go-to feelin’ down album, perfectly matching my want to be allowed to be sad but not wallow, trumping other down-time albums that tend to do the latter.  But best of all, once you’ve gotten down the general pace of the disc, it’s perfectly fitting for good times as well.

Which kinda matches the group in general: good at all times.  Excepting Pardon My French, which is great at all times.