20 Watts


20 Watts Reviews Fuck Buttons’ Tarot Sport by Marc Sollinger
October 23, 2009, 3:01 pm
Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , , , ,


PREVIEW: Visit Fuck Buttons’ Myspace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Tarot Sport, the new album from British electronic duo Fuck Buttons, is not for the faint of heart.  Buzzes, screeches, bleeps, and other jarring, harsh sounds populate a record on which most of the songs are over nine minutes in length.

This isn’t the fuzzy, warm electronica that bands like Passion Pit or Hot Chip or MGMT play.  Instead, Fuck Buttons take their cues from the likes of Aphex Twin and The Boredoms; artists that aren’t afraid to assault  their listeners with nearly headache-inducing levels of noise and dissonance.  And on that front, Fuck Buttons certainly doesn’t disappoint.  Their songs are repetitive, make heavy use of drone, and are meant to be played as loud as your speaker system will allow for. If you’re at all prone to migraines, this is not the album for you.

Nevertheless, once you get past that initial “ugliness,” this is a gorgeous album.  On songs like “The Lisbon Maru” and “Olympians,” the waves of droning synthesizers and discordant tribal drum beats part, to reveal lovely, lavish melodies. These moments are made all the more beautiful by the fact that they only happen towards the end of a song.  It’s like how a sunny day is even more dazzling when it’s been proceeded by a week of rain.  Tracks like “Flight of the Feathered Serpent” and “Surf Solar” take this even further, by shifting the songs’ harsh beginnings so subtly that the listener doesn’t know where the noise starts and the music begins.  These are the songs Sigur Ros would write if Sigur Ros used drumbeats and synthesizers, rather than guitars and orchestras.

That isn’t to say that the album is perfect– it’s far from it.  The two songs under five minutes, “Rough Steez” and “Phantom Limb” come off as awful, unsightly things, filled with cacophonous drum beats recalling Aphex Twin at his most unlistenable.  It also isn’t much of a dance record either, although it’s classified as techno, Tarot Sport just doesn’t have the sense of frenzied motion required.  Still, Tarot Sport is an epic, towering album.  It feels like the soundtrack to the end of the world, with all the beauty and terror that the apocalypse implies.  And an album that sounds like that deserves to be listened to, faint heart or no.

— Marc Sollinger

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1 Comment

Wicked. Easily one of the albums of the year!

Comment by Mark




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