Fuck Buttons (ATP/R)- Tarot Sport

Peter Yarde Martin 15 October 2009

You’d expect a band with a name like ‘Fuck Buttons’ to sound a lot more aggressive than they actually do.

In fact, British duo Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power started off in 2004 with the goal of creating pain-inducing noise music, before experimenting with a prettier sound.

The interaction between the two influences is audible throughout: the album treads a line between abrasive distorted drones and pounding beats on one hand, and swirling pads, simple melodies and repetitive chord sequences on the other.

Album opener ‘Surf Solar’ opens with a glittering cosmos of electronic arpeggios and flutter, before filling out with four-to-the-floor bass drum and long droning chords. This layering is the key to their sound in many ways – in tracks like ‘Olympians’ and ‘Lisbon Maru’ organs, pads and skittering gated synths cycle underneath a slowly unravelling melody, all of it shrouded in a faint distortion which blurs edges and gives a nostalgic, impressionistic glow to the whole thing.

It’s music that’s not in a hurry to get anywhere in particular, and there’s a certain pomposity to it all, mirrored in a press release that promises an album of “unbounded possibility and lucid cohesion” (surely speaking with tongue firmly in cheek?!); but giving your band a name like ‘Fuck Buttons’ serves to deflate any such pretensions fairly effectively.

Peter Yarde Martin