One of the seminal bands on the Connecticut punk scene, New London's Condo Fucks could match any of their peers for sheer sneering attitude on their classic (if hopelessly obscure) albums Movin' In, Straight Outta Connecticut, and For Squatters Only. But despite their fearsome reputation, the Condo Fucks faded away rather than burning out in the mid-'80s, but in 2008 the band accepted an invitation to stage a surprise reunion show for the closing of the beloved New York City venue Magnetic Field. After the success of the gig, the Condo Fucks made a welcome return to the studio, but rather than re-record old favorites like "Fucking Gary Sandy," "I Hate Nutmeg," and "Hot Rails to Hartford" or struggle to write new songs that could match their power, the Condos opted to pay homage to their roots, cutting a set of covers that would honor their influences. Fuckbook reveals that the Condo Fucks haven't lost their spark after more than two decades out of action, and...OK, joke's over -- while the people involved appear to have spent at least an hour creating a back story for this album, the truth is the Condo Fucks are the not-so-secret identity of Yo La Tengo, who bash through a wide-ranging set of covers on Fuckbook with a grimy attack that makes the Mummies sound like Genesis. Anyone expecting the sort of imagination and care Yo La Tengo put into their earlier (almost) all-covers album Fakebook will either be confused or appalled with the Condo Fucks, but there's a certain amount of purpose behind all the slop. Look past the low-tech one-take recording and the vocals that display more beer-enhanced confidence than skill and you'll discover that Yo La Tengo play this stuff with plenty of fire and a shade more skill than the gig necessarily requires, and they sure sound like they're having a great time tearing through the songbooks of Slade, Richard Hell, the Electric Eels, the Flamin' Groovies, and (of course) many more. If you were to see Yo La Tengo playing a house party where they decided to swan dive into a set of covers like a semi-inept garage band after a few too many cocktails, what you'd get would be the Condo Fucks, and Fuckbook shares that show with the world. It's as much of a prank as an album, but after over 20 years as one of America's most consistently rewarding indie rock acts, Yo La Tengo are entitled to a bit of fun, and Fuckbook is a dose of sloppy thunder that's a hoot if accepted in the proper spirit, and if nothing else it sure gives the Replacements' The Shit Hits the Fans a run for its money.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming