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Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport

on October 22, 2009, 3:15am

Where Fuck Buttons would’ve taken it from its warmly welcomed 2008 debut Street Horrrsing, which aurally sawed down every critic or other listener it came across, was anyone’s guess. Said album was a triumphant success when it comes to materializing forward-thinking ideas and blazing innovation while still sounding perfectly at home in its overwhelming conceptual soundscape. That album was nothing less than a complete conceptual circle that put the duo of Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power as the wicked brainchildren of the experimental sandbox in indie land.

Not even tarot cards could’ve predicted that the duo would be able to successfully expand on their already classic formula. There’s simply no worldly substance to Fuck Button’s music. Even a magically inclined gypsy wouldn’t be able to withstand the seizure-inducing effects that the button-fucking caused. By being so incredibly loud and direct in their mix of hardcore chainsaw noise and shoegazing melodies, Fuck Buttons touched something very deep and otherworldly in the listener’s mind and, in many cases, also heart. It was the soundtrack for a new kind of inverted shoegazing: the overtly outgoing and provocative that would set your feet on fire the second you as much as tilted your head down. Call it shoeblazing if you like.

Tarot Sport, however, is the more nuanced follow-up which expands the duo’s universe. The listener is invited out into a more controlled, polished, and consistent sonic space instead of into their own exclusive, chaotic and enclosed world of neverending, hypnotic drones. The 7″ edit of lead single “Surf Solar” proved prior to the album’s release date that Fuck Buttons had grown up to be the moody teenagers who are mastermind’s of their own musical philosophy. The track opens the album and takes up a wonderful 10 and a half minutes worth of excruciating amazement still maintaining its eerie techno-horror intro, the nu rave-inducing bass throb, the absolutely brilliant vocal cut-ups which serve as a danceable rhythm section and of course the wall of noise burning like a flame at the back of the mix. Squeaky synths are then added on top of that, turning the track into somewhat of a soundtrack to an ultra-climax of some epic sci-fi-horror flick.

The genius intro to the album promises much, so much in fact, that “Rough Steez” just comes across as a total loser to Street Horrrsing‘s equivalent short track “Ribs Out”, still considering the fact that “Rough Steez” does have a consistent melody and excessive mix-filler noise incorporated too. Tarot Sport has another shorter track, though, and “Phantom Limb” does not feel like a superfluous inclusion on the album. The same formula but a lot more chaotic energy and rhythmic intricacy earns the track its rightful respect beside the towering epics which are Fuck Buttons’ usual occupation.

Tarot Sport is quite a serious record compared to its predecessor. “The Lisbon Maru” is not just a magnificent classic Fuck Buttons epic that sounds like it’s shaking off the last typical structural elements from Street Horrrsing, it might also be seen as a percussion-lead march of reverence for the Japanese freighter of the same name that sunk and took 800 men with it during WW2. “Olympians” on the other hand sees the duo salute the modern heroes of the Olympics in a track that falls between the chairs in the absence of any games in 2009. However, it seems a bit unnecessary to shed tears that we couldn’t see Fuck Buttons have the honor of producing an alteration of this track for the last Olympics when they let Tarot Sport have their most epic, soaring and lengthy track to date to elevate the listener to giddying heights.

By the time of “Space Mountain”, the duo has sent us all the way up to space where reverberating synths mix with noise screeches inducing syncopal feelings as we drift lost in space. If the Olympics won’t do, then the Disney World corporation might be interested to look into their new attraction soundtrack. Closing this suite of impressively massive achievements is “Flight Of The Feathered Serpent”. Here we find another remnant from the first album not too often used in the same way or with the same frequency on the second album: the underlying organ melody that seems to croon wishing to soothe and come to peace with the jarring, unnerving and tediously noisy world it helplessly finds itself in. The track showcases Fuck Buttons’ feat of creating tracks in which boredom, gloom and desperation can be smashed with danceable rhythms and aggresively revolutionary noise but also solace and confirmation can be found in an uncomprehensible world.

Tarot Sport is not better nor worse than Street Horrrsing. It’s just another example that Fuck Buttons is more than just a musical substitute/addition for illegal hallucinogenic substances or refreshing innovators of the noise genre. Fuck Buttons is a musical catharsis without equivalent.

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Tarot Sport Album Review: Fuck Buttons   Tarot Sport

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