Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

Forget everything you think you know about Bristol based electronic duo Fuck Buttons. Forget their first two albums, forget the economic crisis, Daft Punk, summer festivals, Michael Buble and the recent freakishly good weather. Forget all of this and prepare yourself for Slow Focus, an album of jaw-dropping moments of brilliance, quite unlike anything you have heard so far this year.

Over the top? Perhaps. But there is no question that with Slow Focus, our crudely named pioneers have produced an album that is their best to date, and one that wipes the floor with much of what passes for mainstream electronica at the moment. And forget that last sentence, because this is an album that goes beyond the confines of its genre and lays waste to nearly everything out there in the cosy world of pop and rock in 2013.

The admittedly excellent new Boards of Canada album appears quaint and pedestrian compared to this behemoth – Fuck Buttons are not interested in minimalism, the concept that less is more or settling for a single musical idea and mining it for all its worth. Fuck Buttons bludgeon you into submission with layers and layers of electronic noise and monstrous beats. Subtlety is the enemy. More is more, and just when you think you have had enough, guess what? Here’s another slab of electronic meat to gorge on. Go ahead – treat yourself.

It starts with the tribal drums and pitch shifting synths of ‘Brainfreeze’ and immediately we know we are in unfamiliar territory; Slow Focus is strikingly darker in tone than previous album, Tarot Sport. ‘Year of the Dog’ screeches and squeals over a fluttering synth before a choir of massed voices from Hades joins in to add a little levity. The hip hop breakbeat of ‘The Red Wing’ makes this the most palatable track for the uninitiated, but then the mammoth ‘Sentients’ kicks in, the soundtrack to a sci-fi movie yet to be made and the first of three tracks that threaten to engulf your speakers in flames.

‘Stalker’ is aptly titled – an oscillating siren noise and prowling bassline conjures up images of robots scanning a barren alien landscape; a track that builds and builds and just when you think it has reached its peak, they layer on a swathe of distorted, electronic bass that consumes everything in its path and may actually cause grievous aural harm. ‘Hidden XS’ is an astonishing closing track – transcendental, hypnotic, the dark and twisted twin brother to the dreamy shoegaze of French electro giants, M83.

2013 has been a year of quality album releases, but you will not hear a more thrilling, exciting record than Slow Focus. Prepare to be blown away.

 

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)