Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus album review

There are really only one or two good reasons that justify naming your band Fuck Buttons. The first acceptable answer is that you’re just really into zippers, and abhor any competitive fasteners. The second is that you need some kind of gimmick to garner attention, ostensibly, because the music is incapable of doing that on its own accord. The latter, unfortunately, appears to be the case with Bristol, England, duo Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power. Their fourth full length album since formation in 2004, Slow Focus is a textbook exercise in futility; as quintessential a modern-music-as-representation-of-callow-vapid-culture as you could possible look for.

While anyone who knows me knows electronic and/or experimental ‘music’ is not exactly my forte, I like to think I can, at the very least, appreciate those pioneering or expanding the genre. However, here there is simply nothing to appreciate. Every song follows the exact same formula; simple loops, systematically added ad nausem, until the resulting collection of noise would physically come crashing down if even one more track was added. And yet, despite this myriad of sound, no track ever moves beyond its starting point; the seeming complexity is completely artificial. Not at one point is anything ever said. Not suggested, not inferred, nor beaten into the listener’s skull; without any kind of statement, be it agreeable or argumentative, Slow Focus represents the worst kind of artistic attempt, one that does nothing but waste the participant’s time.


A collection of just seven songs, over half extend beyond 7 and a half minutes, and two reaching past the 10 minute mark. That’s an extremely long time to ask for an audience, especially when offering absolutely nothing in return. For this very reason, skipping ahead yields negligible results any time it is attempted; it will save you time, but you’ll be in exactly the same place, thematically. Like running on the treadmill at the gym; there may be more people in the room when you finish, but you’re exactly where you started. Had actual instrumentalists been forced to play these drudgeries, their aimlessness would have become blatantly obvious, at the very least cutting each track’s length in half.

In addition to being two to three times too lengthy, all songs on the album suffer from being virtually indistinguishable from one another. Critiques of boring, uninteresting frivolity, and shallow, bland annoyance apply to all at once, and none in particular. While “The Stalker” titularly brings to mind Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 cinematic masterpiece, its aural qualities fail to evoke any such comparisons. “Year Of The Dog” stands out as the worst in a bevy of contenders, trying oh so hard to convince the listener of its depth and brevity while relying on clichés that would make The Simpsons writers blush. Every aural clue used in 2001: A Space Odyssey to conjure the spooky, mysterious, powerful and otherworldly emotions, is repeated here in far less classy a fashion.

While it may well be that technology continues made computer based and experimental music easier and more financially feasible and lucrative than traditional instrumentation, it does not change the fact that not everyone is capable of creating good music. Hung and Power may well be very talented individuals in thousands of other fields, but music, electronic or otherwise, is not their field.




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