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SOMA Magazine » Archive » Fuck Buttons
Fuck Buttons

The Catharsis-Release of a band reborn

Modern music’s release cycle is a tumultuous affair.  Records are created, distributed and processed by listeners at such a quick pace that if you blink, you’re likely to overlook something special.  For artists pushed into the spotlight by a breakout debut, this cycle creates a lot of pressure for the inevitable second album.  Avoid the sophomore slump, lest you be forgotten.  Bristol duo, Fuck Buttons, has managed to ignore this pressure and grow from first to second album with easygoing confidence, keeping their eyes solely trained on the simple fact that they very much enjoy the process of making music.

Born out of a collaboration between two art school students, Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power, Fuck Buttons is the product of epiphany.  Though music was neither Hung nor Power’s emphasis in school (Hung studied fine art and Power studied illustration), their project—a mix of noise and electronic elements—captured listeners’ attention and satisfied the base urges of its creators.  So why not do it full-time?  Says Hung, “It was never our intention that any of this would happen to us.  The opportunity just presented itself.  We loved music, so we just went for it, really.”

Initial experimentation with found items and children’s keyboards fed through effects pedals led to a debut LP, Street Horrrsing.  “It was more direct and more linear in its outlook—very harsh sounding,” Power says.  A snapshot of a sonic apocalypse, Horrrsing had a sense of urgency that drew followers in droves.  Some were lured by the ear-shredding loudness of the sound itself, others by the catharsis-release of the dance-inspired buildups.  Still more came to hear how seemingly disparate styles could be brought together in such perfect, albeit distorted, harmony.

If Street Horrrsing is the soundtrack to the end of the world, then their follow-up, Tarot Sport, is the sound of that world being reborn.  Tracks such as “Olympians” and “Surf Solar” have many of the same sonic qualities that made their forebears such interesting listens:  tribal beats built over chord progressions that walk a fine line between total, unbridled chaos and uplifting, trance-like euphoria.  In other ways, the sound has changed.  Synth melodies organically merge into one another in ways that tickle the ear with tenderness; Fuck Buttons has introduced the calm before the storm.  Power warns not to be fooled by the change in tone, though. He says,  “It’s different and it’s fleshed out a bit more, but the edge is still there, we’ve just decorated it a bit.”

Fuck Buttons has captured listener attention for the second time in a row.  If their attitude is any indicator of future success, a third run may be a foregone conclusion.  Power muses, “We’re going to carry on busying ourselves with much of the same thing that we’re doing.”  Extricated from the self-awareness that haunts many other artists clamoring for brief flashes of attention, Fuck Buttons instead aims for quality alone and hits its mark, preferring to let the music cycle hurly-burly work itself out around them.

– Charlie Rohrer

THE SPRING ISSUE


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