New Release: Fuck Buttons

Fuck Buttons: Tarot Sport
ATP Recordings (2009)

Tarot Sport

From out of nowhere, early in 2008, Fuck Bottoms dropped Street Horrsing and managed to make buzz, hiss and drone palatable for an audience outside of the noise scene. When I saw them play at the ATP festival on Mt Buller in January 2009, people were dancing. Dancing! And I’m not talking about fucked up hippies waving their arms around like Hare Krishna, I’m talking about kids with Sunn O))) tattoos and Metal t-shirts bopping their heads along with the freaks on stage making a bone splintering racket with Fisher Price toys. Amazing.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Tarot Sport when I first heard it. Fuck Buttons have taken their sound into a glitzier and more dance-friendly arena, with the IMG_0049help of rock/dance crossover guru Andrew Weatherall. I wanted less rhythm and psychedelic keyboards, and more dense layers of swirling drone.

The thing is, I eventually realised I was approaching Tarot Sport from the wrong perspective. It’s no longer about adorning noise with subtle melodies to expand its horizons; Fuck Buttons have been there and done that. Now they’re taking the decay and erosion of drone and its noise brethren, and attacking popular forms of music from within. Tarot Sport mixes Post Punk extremes with the manic euphoria of Acid House. The four-to-the-floor rhythms that drive most of these tracks might be straight out of the nightclub scene, but the blown-out, in-the-red tones and the mantra like repetition won’t appeal to mindless bunnies.

IMG_0064It’s a much more cinematic record than its predecessor, especially on tracks like Olympia and Space Mountain with their soaring crescendos and bombastic beats. It’s not hard to see these tunes framing the finale to a sci-fi flick or British heist movie, albeit of the independent kind. At the other end of the spectrum, Fuck Buttons channel the playfulness of Black Dice on Phantom Limb and Rough Steez by hurling around sketchy rhythms and colourful squawks.

Rhythm is the key differentiator between Street Horrrsing and Tarot Sport; it’s a much more propulsive record. And maybe it says something that my favourite parts of Tarot Sport are the moments between each track, where the sound is ephemeral, weightless and blurry. It’s easy to lose yourself in these dreamy moments, before the boys get back to baking a spongy, layered cake smothered in colourful icing. And it isn’t the sugar high that keeps me coming back for more. It’s Tarot Sports’ sly ability to make every climax a penultimate one, so that euphoria is always enticingly out of reach.

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One response to “New Release: Fuck Buttons

  1. luxuryskiarticle

    Thank you very much for your article.

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