Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus | DOA

Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

Throughout their short career Fuck Buttons duo Andrew Hung and Ben Power has carefully crafted rousing electronic music that is always forcefully moving. Being careful while also being forceful sounds like an oxymoron waiting to happen but for the noisy electronic music that Fuck Buttons generate, it’s a match made in heaven. Their first album, Street Horrrsing, sent out the signal that this was a duo going places (as one young writer first noted), and their swift follow-up, Tarot Sport, will be regarded as one of the finest electronic albums of the last decade. Enjoying some time off, they’ve reconvened for their third full-length, Slow Focus, an album brutally ready for the limelight once again.

Just like its predecessor, Slow Focus is bookended by two magnificently tailored pieces of electronic bliss. The closer, “Hidden Xs,” is one of two ten-minute songs on the album and it blows the water out of the ocean with remarkable touches of heavenly electronics. There’s a pensive keyboard line that furrows in the background and it’s disguised as what’s supposed to be a grand piano. It’s clouded by stomping snares, churning atmospherics and towering beats that make it one of the album’s many, many heavy songs. And opener, “Brainfreeze,” beautifully transcends the feeling of drinking too much Slurpee too fast with thumping drums and more over-powering synths. This time it’s more about pace and setting the album up – with a dominant drum part taking over – but it’s the overall massiveness of it all and the way it just seems to recklessly pound away that really warms up the audience.

It’s these kinds of calculated choices, these kinds of impressive attention to detail that make Fuck Buttons such a successful electronic duo and Slow Focus is the culmination of it all. Where Tarot Sport lived in a world that was maybe more geared towards the impression of space, Slow Focus is exactly what its title sets out to achieve: a focused movement of patiently crafted layers, with the notion to go for the throat always in mind. “Stalker” is a menacing piece that features an ominous synth-line and growing dynamics that swell into a pleasurable swirl. The drums pound in the background and the synths soar above everything else: calculated, meticulous but always, triumphantly in your face. The song’s title is felt throughout the music’s channeling of darker times – it could be anything from a self-healing, to the disregarded feelings of an outcast – whatever it is, it’s a stark representation of an eerie mentality.

The magic that Hung and Power have realized is definitely some kind of treasure because the combination of this kind of noise and this kind of electronic music is a remarkable success. Even the shorter songs, like “Year of the Dog,” feel like a labor of love because of how much attention mood and theme is really given. It’s four and a half minutes of minimal tendencies with increasingly flourishing synths that never, well, lose focus and on “Prince’s Prize” they welcome a scaling keyboard before thundering drums make their way. Seeing them live five years ago painted a picture that they were always about the impeccable strength of attack and release but they’ve fully accomplished their goals with music that is exceptionally composed.

Perhaps the most redeeming quality about any Fuck Buttons album (or of any good album for that matter) is that it’s best received when played at its loudest. Hung and Power didn’t craft these seven songs in a low whisper and neither should we. Instead, Slow Focus is a tremendously gifted album; one that remarks on what electronic music is still capable of, while knowingly realizing that the sky’s the limit.

ATP Recordings