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Fuck Buttons – “Slow Focus” – ALBUM REVIEW

Fuck Buttons “Slow Focus”

fuck_buttons_-_slow_focus-8217

Don’t be fooled by the extremely ridiculous yet assonance-lovers’-wet-dream-like name, Fuck Buttons is a very serious and very brilliant electronic duo from England. The duo features Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power, the latter of which performs solo under the alias Blanck Mass (I saw him perform earlier this year as an opening act for Sigur Rós). The duo are known for their very experimental and very winding approach to electronic music, sometimes incorporating principles of drone and post-rock. But for this album, their first in four years and third overall, the Buttons are definitely headed in a more EDM direction, with quite a few distinct changes.

“Slow Focus” kicks things off with a garage rock drum loop that ends up resting comfortably underneath fat, spacey synths in the opening track “Brainfreeze.” Right off the bat, this album is as dense as Jupiter and saturated with all kinds of sound. I know there are people that think any old idiot can create a decent electronic dance music track with a computer, but every day people like Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power prove that there’s way way more to this style of music than a Mac and Cubase.

Next up is “Year of the Dog,” a shorter song that brings back memories of Animal Collective circa 2009, though it still retains that space-synth quality that the first song brought. “Year of the Dog” is followed by another track that ventures into some unfamiliar territory, “The Red Wing.” “The Red Wing” begins sounding almost like a beat produced by Madlib. It absolutely has potential to be mixed into some hip hop beat in the near future. It would sound just nice underneath maybe an MF DOOM verse or Earl Sweatshirt verse.

Track 4, “Sentients,” features a weird laser-like sound that sounds kind of like the “My Name Is Mud” bass line if it were slowed down exponentially. “Slow Focus” definitely seems to feature some sort of weird space theme or imagery. It sounds like it could be the score to the newer Star Trek films if they were directed by David Fincher or Nicolas Winding Refn. It even has a little bit of a tampered-with Daft Punk robot voice section to it. I’m not saying they sampled Daft Punk but there’s definitely a little bit of similarity here.

“Prince’s Prize” is the shortest and arguably the strangest track on here. A mind-bending math-rock sounding riff loops while lasers shoot off in the distance and synths build up to bring the song to its apex, which features Timbaland-sounding synths-and-drums. If anything, Fuck Buttons are definitely bringing a great amount of variation to the table with this album.

“Slow Focus” ends with two 10-minute monster tracks. The first of the two, “Stalker,” has a definite synth-pop vibe to it once it builds into its main section. It almost sounds like something you’d hear Charli XCX or maybe even Lady Gaga sing over. Meanwhile, the final song on the album, “Hidden XS,” couldn’t be any more different. It actually sounds more like an extended Crystal Castles instrumental than it does any sort of synth-pop. While Fuck Buttons aren’t necessarily known for their dance-y music, a good portion of the songs on “Slow Focus” could definitely do well at a late-night party.

On “Slow Focus,” Hung and Power have both matured and changed their sound considerably, changing their painstaking and slow-building electro-drones into danceable, colorful, noisy synth beats that still retain the experimentation that both men are known for, making this one of the most interesting and compelling listens I’ve heard all year, both in general and in the world of electronic dance music.

SCORE – 9.4

FAVORITE TRACKS – Brainfreeze, The Red Wing, Sentients, Stalker, Hidden XS

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This entry was posted on July 19, 2013 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , .
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