Fuck Buttons
Tarot Sport


4.5
superb

Review

by SleepyJack USER (3 Reviews)
February 2nd, 2010 | 4 replies | 1,327 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With Tarot Sport Fuck Buttons have taken a step back from the experimental brink. All of the distortion and energy which was present on Street Horresing is still there, but this time it’s focused towards a more uplifting atmosphere.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Anyone who has heard *** Buttons’ 2008 debut “Street Horresing” will doubtless be ready to admit that they are far from the most accessible band around. The album is packed full of highly distorted synths, tribal chants and unintelligible screams all forged together into brooding and often menacing soundscapes. The aim of Street Horresing is obviously not to put its listener at ease, and I suppose that anyone who decides to listen to an experimental/noise rock band with the word *** in its name is probably quite prepared for a little aural discomfort where it’s merited, but even so, Street Horresing is a decidedly abrasive album to take in.

With Tarot Sport, it seems that *** Buttons have taken a step back from the experimental brink. All of the ear rending distortion and pounding energy which was present on Horresing is still there, but this time it’s all focused towards a more open and uplifting atmosphere which tends to result in a much more comfortable listen. The positive mood on this album also seems to accentuate the post rock influences of the Bristol duo without compromising the hard edge of their previously defined sound. Tarot sport also has a much more apparent dance feel to it than Street Horresing, with infectious beats propelling the album from start to finish as the tracks merge smoothly from one to the next.

The first hint of dance on the album appears almost straight away in the opener Surf solar as a subdued but driving bass drum emerges from a swirl of electronic blips. This all soon settles behind the track’s main theme which is comprised of what sound like vocal samples of children which have been chopped and processed almost beyond recognition. The track gradually swells as layers of fuzzy synths are added, building into a sustained climax. Slow to build and compelling to listen to, Surf Solar gives a good indication of what to expect from the rest of the album.

A haze of white noise signifies the transition into the album’s second track Rough Steeze. The drums on this track seem like a throwback to the tribal sounding aspects of Street Horresing, and *** Buttons throw in some jarring, high pitched electronic whines, just to show that they’re still capable of hurting your ears when they feel like it. With a vaguely industrial or inhuman feel to it, this track is definitely the harshest on this album.

It is on Tarot Sport’s fourth track Olympians that *** Buttons really begin to show their post rock leanings. The pair had always claimed to have been heavily influenced by Mogwai, and with that in mind it’s easy to make comparisons between *** Buttons’ distorted synths and the explosive distorted guitars which are characteristic of Mogwai’s debut Young Team, and it’s also true that *** Buttons have always had a post rock-esque approach to their composition, creating long, drawn out tracks which build and develop at a snail’s pace. Even so, I would probably never have equated *** Buttons with this genre at all until I heard Olympians. Here, instead of focusing all of their brooding energy and noise towards an atmosphere of darkness or dissonance *** Buttons endeavour instead to create joy. The result is a grandiose, euphoric sounding track which is more evocative of explosions in the sky than of Mogwai. Unlike Explosions, however, *** Buttons take a much less delicate approach to creating this sort of mood, and it’s refreshing to hear music with this sort of joyous atmosphere with a bit of force behind it as well.

Another album which I am tempted to equate with this one is M83’s “Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts”. The reason for this is not that the two sound particularly similar. Compared to m83 *** Buttons slow, lengthy compositions and their droning fuzz give them quite a distant, refined sound whereas M83 tend to come across as more abrupt. Also *** Buttons’ use of live drums gives their music an organic touch which separates them from M83 and generally from a lot of other electronic artists. The reason, however, that I do relate these two albums is probably because both involve taking instruments generally used in electronica and dance, and using them to create music with a lot of emphasis on atmosphere.

And creating atmosphere is something that *** buttons are very good at, the prime example of this being the album’s closer and in my opinion its highlight “Flight of The Feathered Serpent”. Every time I listen to this track it conjures up the image of a festival or a parade. Just the sheer amount of energy pumping through the track coupled with that same sensation of joy which was brought earlier while listening to Olympians give the impression of some momentous event full of colour and crowds. The album ends on the high of this climax, and while this is good in some respects I think that can make it seem as though it has been cut short, as all of this vibrancy and energy gives way to sheer silence.

On paper Tarot Sport sounds like a bit of a contradiction: it’s harsh but it’s euphoric, it’s varied but still consistent, it sounds like post rock but it’s steeped in dance. As you listen to it though, this album which ought to rattle past in a tangled mess somehow manages to propel itself smoothly from start to finish. This is a truly unique album which shows the huge amount of potential that *** Buttons possess. I can only hope that their next step will be as progressive and as arresting as this one has been.


user ratings (207)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Jonathan Kroening (4)
Seamlessly blending post-rock and electronic music, Tarot Sport is a flight you don’t want ...

mazurov (4.5)
Overloaded karaoke amps, blown speakers, thumping basslines with a teensy hint of chaos. Welcome to ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2010



17118 Comments


yep, this rules

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

LiquidVelvet
February 2nd 2010



628 Comments


album is soooOOooooOooOOoOooooooOOoOOoooo good

patrickfannon
November 26th 2011



884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dang. You write one heck of a review, SleepyJack. This album is cool as shit, too. I forgot all about it. Might have to listen to it later. All is well. Pos.

LysergicLollypops
April 25th 2012



77 Comments


This album goes well with acid.



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