Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus (Review)

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It’s been four years since Fuck Buttons released ‘Tarot Sport’ and effectively introduced me to electronic music. I remember being on holiday in Edinburgh and picking up the CD, along with ‘Kings and Queens’ by Jamie T. Whilst the latter still shows no signs of new material, Fuck Buttons are back with their third album ‘Slow Focus’ and it’s a stunning record, exactly as I expected it to be.

‘Slow Focus’ is the British two-pieces third album, and is another sprawling mass of expertly crafted electronic music, that doesn’t rely on vocals or gimmicks. Like on ‘Tarot Sport’ most of the songs follow the premise of simple build up’s before climaxing on crescendos, which are rich and layered. This isn’t true of every song on ‘Slow Focus’ as some songs are more abrasive in their delivery, favouring dynamic introductions as opposed to simple rhythm sections culminating in soaring soundscapes. Songs such as ‘Hidden XS’ still possess the same sounds that defined songs such as ‘Olympians’, turning very little into majestic music with ease.

The ability to turn the simplest of beats into a 6+ minute masterpiece is a craft that Fuck Buttons have finely perfected and demonstrate exceptionally throughout the seven tracks which ‘Slow Focus’ contains. Every track sounds different to the one before it, and at it’s numerous peaks ‘Slow Focus’ is the best electronic release of the year. ‘Brainfreeze’ is a great opener and one of the albums best songs; it soars and writhes in a way that is trademark Fuck Buttons, starting off relatively subtle, and being deafening by the end, before dropping off instantly to finish subtle once again. Like most of ‘Slow Focus’ it’s a thrilling listen, ranging from harsh to gentle, basic to beautiful. Lead single ‘The Red Wing’ takes a more gritty approach, but loses none of its impact by doing so. It’s a different direction, but a welcome one, and sees Fuck Buttons exploring and growing their sound more so than on past releases.

Above all else, ‘Slow Focus’ contains a range of sounds, although the soaring synths are still present in abundance. However, some songs seem flat at points and occasionally drag out for too long (‘Stalker’), but even these songs are compelling in their length, despite being a little repetitive come the end. The record isn’t quite as uplifting as it’s predecessor and is occasionally dark at times, like on the track ‘Sentients’ but it’s good that the album has variety in its delivery. By varying the sounds on ‘Slow Focus’ Fuck Buttons provide an album that has depth, which is in no way generic. It sounds fresh, and stands apart in a genre that is becoming increasingly stagnant.

In a year where Daft Punk have undeservingly championed electronic music Fuck Buttons have released an excellent album that sadly won’t reach the same levels of success as a result of their name. ‘Slow Focus’ is a great album as a result of its shifting sounds and meticulously crafted songs, which is deserving of all the praise given to it.

Rating – 9/10

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