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Album Review: Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus

26 July 2013 | 5:53 pm | Andrew McDonald

Slow Focus is menacing, danceable, introverted and wide reaching; it is still a wonderfully hard sell and hardly to suited to pop tastes, which makes it all the more essential and truly one of 2013’s best albums.

Fuck Buttons have carved out a niche as always being the exception and never the rule. From the get go with 2008's Street Horrrsing, their career was too danceable for the noise scene and too damn noisy for dance music. Their '09 follow up was like another exercise in alienation, moving further from their droning roots into spaced-out, electronic post-rock. Both are, of course, brilliant. So a four year wait seems particularly arduous, even if the duo have hardly been relaxing.

From opener Brainfreeze's oil drum beat and modulated synth grooves, it's clear the band has shifted gears yet again. Here Fuck Buttons channel a longing and loneliness they've never articulated before. This loneliness is increasingly juxtaposed by the building, layered and frankly epic artificial sounds. Juxtaposition soon becomes a recurring theme on the album; be it the hopeful tone and miserable undercurrent of lead single Red Wing, or the simple playful arpeggio on Prince's Prize being blown out by its deliriously clipping synth patches.

It's easy to long for the group's earlier, more otherworldly and noise-based sounds, but that would simply be too easy and Fuck Buttons have never been an easy band. This is still noisy, expansive and layered music, but again – it's not the Fuck Buttons you know. Never content to rest on their laurels, the band have upped their game into what is perhaps their most mature release yet. Slow Focus is menacing, danceable, introverted and wide reaching; it is still a wonderfully hard sell and hardly to suited to pop tastes, which makes it all the more essential and truly one of 2013's best albums.