Album Review: Fuck Buttons-Slow Focus

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Fuck Buttons have the kind of band name that attracts attention. They also have the music to back it up. Listening to Fuck Buttons for the first time was a polarising thing in my life, like the first time I played Crash Bandicoot, or watched South Park. And whilst those things have faded in my personal popularity, (to be replaced by Bubble Trouble 2: Rebubbled and Workaholics, respectively) Fuck Buttons are still at the forefront of my mind. ‘Slow Focus’ was one of my most looked forward to albums, and it certainly has not disappointed. The grotesque and deliciously disturbing melancholic sounds of Fuck Buttons is one that might take a while to get used to for some listeners, and others might not even have the will to stand it. However, those that can bluster through some truly sweltering distortion-oriented disturbia will be glad they did so.

The opening track of ‘Slow Focus’ is traditional Fuck Buttons. Giant, hammering drums that thunder across the sky of ‘Brainfreeze’, whilst shimmering synths, and animalistic escapades echo to create a howling masterpiece. So far, orgasmic. I can’t believe there was an ounce of doubt in my mind. Sure, eight and a half minutes might be pushing it, but do you think Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power give a solitary fuck about your feelings? I’ll leave you with that existential debate, and continue onto the next track, ‘Year of the Dog’ which is a brilliant, goopy mess, slimy to it’s core. After horror-movie string sliding and futuristic spaceship travels across the galaxy, ‘Year of the Dog’ sounds a shitload better than the year of the pig, or the year that I was born and represent. Unlike the lazy and satisfied pig-like nature of myself, ‘Year of the Dog’ is a transcendent, horrifying piece that sounds like Blade Runner banging Alien (both Ridley Scott movies-the more you know). 

After a while of getting the living shit scared out of me, it’s onto ‘The Red Wing’, of which the radio edit came out a while ago. The full version is that much more intense, which is really saying something. Starting with a gentle, trip-hop beat, we move into space n time format again, grooving placidly through the muck of dizzying electronica. It’s a glitch-ridden and buzz-saw laden track of techno that will both jolt you awake with frequent electric pulses, and lull you into a deep sense of insecurity. When ‘The Red Wing’ climatically finishes, ‘Sentients’ comes on and lives up to it’s name. Lasers shoot through a galactic inter-war battle, and giant robots do destruction with each other, all in the name of electronic music. In the most avant-garde way possible, the destruction of the Death Star is put on in a slow motion, audio-centric format, and it’s goddamn mind-blowing, and definitively enormous. You can never prepare yourself enough for the inter-plantary apocalypse speech that interrupts the closest thing to a reverie that Fuck Buttons can come to. The warm down and after effects of this is seen in ‘Prince’s Prize’, a shimmering Pac-Man interpretation that transforms into a breakbeat, entrancing hypnotism of the senses. Holy Fuck Buttons Batman, I think I just experienced Tron through the power of music! Take me back to a point in Jeff Bridges’ career where he isn’t at that low of a point in his life (I am, of course, referring to, The Big Lebowski)

The final end of the album comes in the two, huge 10 minute slabs of ‘Stalker’ and ‘Hidden X’s’. The former is a towering and intimidating figure, the other a succulent and entrancing track that swims with the grace of Derek Zoolander in his Merman commercial. Although ‘Hidden X’s’ is a damn beautiful track, it’s ‘Stalker’ that leaves the bigger impression, mainly because it seems to follow in the format of ‘Slow Focus’ more solidly. ‘Stalker’ is fucking huge, booming and throwing it’s weight around, not just shoving but actively defying anything to get in it’s way. It’s like an evil Optimus Prime, mechanic, whirring and death-defying in the most belied sense of every adjective. The way it jilts and heaves, just when you think the menace might be over, it amps to another level, blasting away your faith in humanity with that giant fucking laser sword thing that Optimus Prime has. 

Overall, Fuck Buttons have created a powerful force of technology. Yes, that’s right, this isn’t just an album of electronic music, it’s a fucking piece of technology, like the iPod you’ll listen to it on. I would say that ‘Slow Focus’ was so powerful and layered that it could hypnotise Megatron, but that would be portraying a hypothetical, and we haven’t been attacked by any inter-galactic space robots in the recent past, have we? ‘Slow Focus’ is fucking sick, and if you’re a fan of having your head chewed off and spat back out in a crumbled mess in front of you through the glory of sound, then you should get this album. It’s glorious in every sense of the word. It’s the kind of shit that Skrillex goes all corporal mortification in an effort to create (that’s the crazy whipping stuff that the albino monk from The Da Vinci Code does). ‘Slow Focus’ is everything I hoped it would be and more.

For those wondering, the vagrant slangshot of ‘Fuck’ was used only 14 times. I’m really sorry. I’ll try better next time. 

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