You'd be forgiven for thinking that the new album by Connecticut trio Condo Fucks was a long lost demo from a band who's proper recordings sounded awesome, and actually you wouldn't be far wrong. That band is called Yo La Tengo and Fuckbook is basically their new album. Way back in 1997, in the liner notes of Yo La Tengo's I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, was listed a tongue in cheek discography of oddly named Matador releases, Condo Fucks being among them. This led to quite a following of this mysterious garage punk band. Most of these releases became so rare and limited edition that most people never even heard them. Well they're back and though it's not really publicised as the new Yo La Tengo record the fact that Georgia Condo is the drummer, James McNew the bassist and Kid Condo on lead guitar and vocals and the the album's title itself is slightly reminiscent of Fakebook, Yo La Tengo's cover record of 1990 it's not difficult to work it out, oh, and did I mention that this is a cover record as well?
All that aside, Fuckbook is a triumph no matter who gets the credit. It's like a whole album of those gritty garage jams that crop up amid the blissed out numbers on a Yo La Tengo record. It borrows from the 60's and 70's for it's cover material taking songs from the Small Faces, The Kinks, The Beach Boys and Slade and forcing them all through a decrepit mincer. The main point to note here is the production quality, and before all you uptight Hunches fans start lining up in the car park with your knuckle dusters, I like it. It's gritty as hell with great fists of guitars and crashing drums being swamped in feedback and muffled chaos, the vocals are launched from the back of the room and often get totally buried in this onslaught of grimy mess. It's The Stooges, but hardcore.
However, with the line up of songs this approach works magnificently. It sounds like a band free of their usual day job and loving the anonymity of their disguise. It's apparently a recording of a secret rehearsal that took place last March and it sounds like it. From the opening butchering of the Small Faces Whatcha Gonna Do About It? they lurch from one song to the next counting each on in with hurried impatience. The disguise slips on their version of the Kinks' This Is Where I Belong. If Ira's vocals weren't so buried it would be very clear who is behind this record. The Beach Boys' Shut Down brings the mask back up to the face as it races through the surf rock cover with gleeful abandon. The Flamin' Groovies' Dog Meat is a magnificently chugging brut, with James McNew at the helm and the spirit of the era in which this song was originally recorded is evoked to great effect. The band crash their way through this song without a care in the world and the same can be said for most of this record, actually all of this record. It sounds like what happens when the teacher leaves the room or fails to turn up at all. Cast your minds back to that magical moment when it looks like the teacher has forgotten your class and this is what it sounds like. Since I'm Not Afraid Of You... I was feverishly awaiting the new Yo La Tengo record, I'm ok now.