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Live Review: Fuck Buttons, Standish/Carlyon

31 October 2013 | 10:30 am | Sevana Ohandjanian

Fuck Buttons delivered a night that had us swept up in the all-consuming vivacity of melodic noise and eyefuls of imaginative scenery.

Melbourne's Standish/Carlyon have the downbeat electronic sound down pat. Sultry vocals marry the occasional slap bass, with unexpected bouts of ear-grating noise thrown in for contrast. All the while synths slink about the foreground, making it easy swaying-while-drinking music. Their performance could use a jolt of excitement, but there's no doubt that their music would be outstanding on record.

Meanwhile Fuck Buttons live are a far more visceral experience than on record, and the Bristol duo took to the stage with solemn gusto. The sounds were crisp and heavy, alternating between the sinister edges of new record, Slow Focus, when they opened with Brainfreeze, through to the more subdued (and that term is definitely used loosely) Olympians, sparking enthused head nodding and hand flapping from the audience. What really makes their show extraordinary though, is the visual element. After all, two men with their synthy toys aren't going to be particularly compelling for an hour-long set. Yet with an elaborate set-up of projections and audio-visual equipment, Fuck Buttons had a series of interactive images playing out behind them, along with real-time silhouettes of themselves, mimicking all of their gestures. It was immediately hypnotic and led to many a transcendent moment as kaleidoscopic colours closed in on themselves and the bass grew ever louder. The sheet of noise that blanketed the set was always deftly manipulated, adding elements like screeching vocal modulations, often resulting in a band member working machines with a microphone prising their jaw open as they tried to multitask. They balanced beautifully between the glitchy elements of their sound, like Surf Solar, and the aggression of songs such as Colours Move. Fuck Buttons delivered a night that had us swept up in the all-consuming vivacity of melodic noise and eyefuls of imaginative scenery.