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Monday , September 2 2013
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Fuck Buttons - “Slow Focus”

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Just like one of the songs on this album, there’s something decidedly video game-like about the cover. This thing looks like a power-up of some kind.

BY JACK DANIEL BETZ

Although not a terribly active group over the past few years, Fuck Buttons have a short but gratifying history of producing experimental electronic music that although odd, is still surprisingly accessible. Given their gap in output, and the insidious commercialization of electro artists, it’s a complete relief to hear the record that they released last month — STILL not commercial (and not audibly doubting themselves on whether or not they want to go that direction).

The album starts out with “Brainfreeze,” which delivers an ominous cycle of floor tom battery, joined slowly by warbling synths. Houston listeners will notice a decidedly Balaclavas-like tone here. As with most FB songs, it builds until it reaches a climax of noise overload. It’s all audible, but composed of so many moving parts that it’s almost more of an experiment than a song.

Darkness continues to pervade with “The Red Wing.” Bells, oblique vocals, flutes, and gongs all frolic behind the pulsating of another sinister synth (this time with a tone like a live wire held to a contact mic). Then, just when it seems like it would be difficult to add anything else to the mix, a dramatic organ rears its head.

The centerpiece of Slow Focus, what sticks out most, is the glitchy, “Prince’s Prize.” This song title sounds like an old arcade game, and the spirit of the music itself is not far off. Here, Fuck Buttons show off their ability to deliberately write themselves into a corner, using weird timing and patterns, and then find their way back to a cogent beat.

As compared to past albums, the band seems as if they’re simply going with the same formula. Normally, repetition of method results in dullness, but when that tried-and-true method is deliberately being weird, then doing it to death is totally acceptable.

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