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AUGUST 17

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It has quickly become a truism in indie rock that Fuck doesn’t make the kind of music you’d expect of a band named for an English verbal taboo. Instead, Pardon My French, the San Francisco quartet’s quietly urgent third album, is prone to language such as “daft” and “you’re my bestest friend” rather than anything explicit. (The single exception, “Fuck Motel,” doesn’t get, you know, offensive.) In fact, mournful ballads like “Compromise” sound like the expression of a man who’s too emotionally beaten to throw a dish at his lover, and Timmy Prudhomme’s vocals imply that maybe he’ll just pout and purposely spill his coffee. Fuck’s moody chamber pop occasionally breaks into a threatening instrumental screech, but for the most part rarely rises above the level of soft, somewhat bemused conversation. Pardon’s major departures from this norm, such as “Raggy Rag” (apparently inspired by someone’s grandfather’s ukulele playing) and the Feeliesesque “To My Gurl,” are easily as convincing, however. The arch instrumental “Thoroughfare” attempts a ’60s-style movie theme. Best of all is “Dirty Brunette,” a glorious three minutes that would sound great on “120 Minutes,” or at least M2. It even addresses the band’s namesake act, though in mighty oblique terms. It’ll no doubt be a high point when Fuck appears with Two Dollar Guitar (featuring Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth), the Castaway Stones, and the Clears at 8 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $6. (202) 667-7960. (Rickey Wright)