ALBUM REVIEW: Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

Slow Focus artwork
Slow Focus artwork

ARTIST Fuck Buttons

ALBUM Slow Focus

LABEL ATP Records

RELEASE DATE 23.7.2013

8.3 | 10

With a name like Fuck Buttons, Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power aren’t catching anyone off guard with their brand of abrasive electronica music. On their first album since 2009’s Tarot Sport, FuBu orchestrates a relentless tour de force, allowing no time for the listener to catch her breath throughout the 50+ minute LP.

Slow Focus has the simmering intensity of Burial, but without any break to relieve the tension. The onslaught begins with “Brainfreeze,” an apt title for a song that comes out of the gate with a furious intensity and slowly shows its cards throughout the 8+ minute runtime. “Year Of The Dog” takes the album into a decidedly more sinister direction before “The Red Wing” comes out of the gate like a bat out of hell. Synths rip through the speakers like chainsaws, while multiple other disparate sound effects are thrown in to make a musical gumbo. The track first premiered as a radio friendly three minute edit, but on the album the song extends its run time by four minutes, soaking in every thrilling moment.

If you heard Immunity, you’ll be on your way to embracing Slow Focus. Both albums have seriously heavy undertones, yet Jon Hopkins’ latest is a more polished work than the splintered Focus. Hung and Power embrace this style with open arms, and as chaotic as the album sounds, there’s a definite method to this madness. Take the last two tracks, for example. “Stalker” slowly builds from an incessant drone to a grandiose mix of drum loops and crystalline synth pads. “Hidden Xs” follows, and is another 10+ minute epic, ending the album on a euphoric note. The song is reminiscent of the excellent Actress track “N.E.W.” (2011), albeit much more of a wakeup call than a soothing lullaby.

With electronica commandeering the listening tendencies of a mainstream audience (Daft Punk has one of the biggest albums and singles of the year), Slow Focus would have been the perfect opportunity for Fuck Buttons to introduce themselves to a much wider audience. Instead, the duo push themselves into corners and fight like hell to get out. It’s too dark to soundtrack a night on the town, meaning it will probably be left to audiophiles to decipher and applaud and endorse for the remainder of the year. Now more than ever, that appears to be exactly where Fuck Buttons intend on residing.

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