New Music: Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus

Fuck ButtonsSlow Focus

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Brainfreeze”
“The Red Wing”
“Stalker”

Album Highlights: After a lengthy 4 year wait for the third album from the Bristol duo Fuck Buttons, Slow Focus has arrived with all it’s droning brilliance. Right out of the gates, it’s not terribly tough to see that Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power have been busy collecting more circuit-bent gadgets and rare synths to create a whirling dervish of art-wave post-rock. Though trying to place this act in any genre is a bit of disservice, kind of like some of their influences like Aphex Twin and Mogwai. Alas, this sonic venture is full of exploration, easily demonstrated on the long-play opening track, “Brainfreeze”. Fans of My Bloody Valentine may eat up this thick, wall-of-sound style approach that is served up on this release, and the explorative tracks top ten minutes in some cases à la Kevin Shields, as well.

Comparisons aside, Fuck Buttons truly bring something original to the table, and the crossover nature of this release is one of the more dynamic aspects to dwell on while listening. Tracks like “Stalker” lurch close to a dance beat, but won’t allow for overt shoegazing as the song bends and limps towards a rising focal point. It’s uplifting in ways, while leaving the listener to decide if it’s the sound of apocalypse or a new beginning.

Album Lowlight: Much like their influences, Fuck Buttons won’t fit neatly into any category, therefore fans of the avant-garde will eat it up, while others may not appreciate the pioneering aspect of these two experimental Brits. Closing track “Hidden Xs” is formatted very similarly to the prior song in song structure, length of track and overall feel. “Hidden Xs” does have a more distinct “rock” feel with it’s relatively clear guitar tones, almost reminiscent of jamtronica purveyors such as The Egg. It remains to be seen whether this album has a ton of replay value, but the depth of the songs tend to make one think it will.

Takeaway: If not familiar with this act, Slow Focus is a perfectly acceptable jumping off point before burrowing into their back catalog. It’s likely that their recently announced Fall tour will garner buzz and sell out in many key demographics, so don’t sleep on Fuck Buttons in the later summer.

Hung and Power are masters of their craft, and truly sculpt aural landscapes with the best of them. One standout track, “The Red Wing”, could be a stand-in for a more ruckus take on Boards of Canada, an act that shares the same envelope-pushing ethos. All in all, these rising stars bring something truly unique to the table, a table that is increasingly overflowing with new takes on the state of electronic music, even if hidden under the moniker of post-rock.

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