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Positive Feedback ISSUE 68
july/august 2013


Sonic Satori - Fuck Buttons, Slow Focus
by Michael Mercer

Sometimes an album just washes over you. You forget all about classifications, genres, desert island lists and the classics, and you find yourself listening to something that, seemingly, is touching the infinite for a fleeting moment. It's that ultimate arch in an artistís career, all money and bullshit aside, when their audience is captivated by the work they produce. Fuck Buttons have forged an even deeper hole between the time I spend on my work and my wifey, because I work from home and I can't stop listening to Slow Focus! Every time I play the record I can't pause until it's finished. Well, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. This album has so much going on I can only describe it as controlled emotive madness: Ascending, descending, complete with crescendos and imaginative breakdowns. The coolest thing about the record? The noise they make, it's menacing and beautiful. Needless to say, that means it feels original, raw, uninhibited, and ready to kick your ass.

While you're getting your ass beat however, the enveloping sound is seductive and intriguing. Fans of Mogwai's heavier stuff should love this; also fans of Mono may appreciate both the hard-hitting and the subtle touches in the compositions. Fuck Buttons let you know on Slow Focus: They don't fuck around. "Brainfreeze" doesn't seem to sound anything like its title when things pop off, but as the velocity in the percussion picks up you remember why they call it an "ice cream headache." I'm not saying this track hits too hard, I'm saying the emotive power is far greater than the instrumental no matter how heavy and wide they mix the kick drum. They come out swingin' for the fuckin' fences. Luckily they grant the listener a breakdown, a chance to get a breath, and then bang! It's the kind of instrumental track you play while driving, jogging, or doing something that you need to rock out fast. "Year of the Dog" begins anew. The sound is industrial, metallic, a bit chilling. These synth pads fill the soundstage, chirping; a giant acid bass line (meaning a sound associated with acid house, typically written on something like a Roland TB303) emanates from the left channel and builds everything into a frenzy. It's a trip, and things are only getting started.

"Sentients" massive kick drum is straight-up ear candy, and I love every minute of it. "Prince's Prize" (pop star reference perhaps) is an insane composition of synth stabs and pads; the transient speed changes along with the key of the stabs. Everything moves from left to right, right to left. It builds into a frenzy until the low end drops. Then the album sounds like crash collision of The Terminator and Daft Punk twenty-five years into the future, and still funky as hell. "Stalker" goes for it. It's metallic guitar and futuristic, distant drums are punctuated with acid stabs that float across the soundstage. It's more wicked beauty. That's what this record is: Gorgeous and Menacing. I loved every minute of it, and it admittedly grew on me after a couple listens. I highly recommend you give it a shot.