Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus

Brutish electronica painted in new shades...
Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus

Third records can prove transitional affairs. ‘OK Computer’: from the stock to the sublime. ‘Be Here Now’: the all-conquering to the self-absorbed.

Album three from London’s Fuck Buttons finds Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power crafting their brutish electronica in new shades. Technical elements might share similarities with previous work, but the sentiments expressed are of a distinctly darker design.

Those sky-scraping synths that adorned 2009’s ‘Tarot Sport’ are few and far between, the surging shimmers of the Olympics (opening ceremony)-soundtracking ‘Surf Solar’ significantly shadowed by macabre grinds and mechanical animal growls.

Tracks like ‘Brainfreeze’ and ‘Stalker’ evoke visions of shattered cityscapes, comprising transmissions from a post-apocalypse scenario painted by myriad motion pictures. It’s easy to claw one’s way around the debris, though, with such propulsive tunes encouraging forward momentum.

With Fuck Buttons’ studio routine mirroring their live set-up – songs are written using the same arrangement of equipment seen on stage – there’s rarely a let up in the gut-busting onward march of ‘Slow Focus’. It packs several substantial punches, always with lasting impression.

Relative levity is experienced during ‘Prince’s Prize’, a chattering arrangement of laser buzzes and almost hip-hop-like beats. ‘Sentients’, too, is a piece which might just qualify as dancefloor-friendly, if the DJ in question was either a brave idiot or looking to be lynched by the night’s close, probably by an army of android ravers. There is something of a bounce to the beginning of ‘The Red Wing’, but soon enough a rather more oppressive atmosphere manifests itself. 

Easy on the ear it isn’t, but ‘Slow Focus’ carves its name into the synapses nonetheless, like some sort of unstoppable, power-electronics ‘In Utero’.

8/10

Words: Mike Diver

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