F*ck Buttons have all it takes to rise above their attention-seeking name and become...
Ian Wade 2008-03-27
First of all, there’s that name. Don't let it put you off. F*ck Buttons may be the latest in the line of 'noisy' band names that alert/frighten, but really up against the likes of Jing Jang Jong and Does It Offend You Yeah?, it's relatively harmless, bar the obvious swearing.
Hailing from Bristol, the duo of Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power formed the Buttons in 2004. Initially to bring about sonic terrorism, make as much noise as possible and to record something genuinely painful to the listener's ears. The duo soon saw the qualities of their extreme side and harnessed it into something far more transcendent and amazing. Using found sounds, pensionable electronics and tribal rhythms, upon which they overlay effected voices and distorted yelping - No, come back! If you were turned on by the Holy F*ck album of 2007 (clearly the word du jour in the realm of the far out), or indeed are on nodding terms with the work of Sunno))), Neu!, Blood Everywhere, Spaceman 3 or Can, Street Horrrsing – naturally named after a mythical equestrian sport – is the next album you need to wrap your head around.
Kicking off with Sweet Love For Planet Earth, any obstacles that could've been cleared in a bit for daytime radio play are still in place, building as it does into a head-nodding level of skree and thrash metal shouting. Imagine the austere workings of John Carpenter amped up into distortion, and you may actually believe the world is ending, or at least a hell mouth has opened up at the newsagents around the corner. Race You To My Bedroom/ Spirit Rise opens up the possibility of the Buttons doing sexy. God help anyone who would use this as a seduction tool, unless their bedroom is done in a tasteful Hellraiser theme.
At six tracks, Street Horrrsing is just enough noise before you start to pine for something more straightforward and tuneful. Loud, in a darkened room and aided by certain relaxants, it's like a musical re-birthing session – something that could provoke out-of-body experiences. Listened to in the context of a shoddy weekday, it could drive you to the paracetemol. However, there's an interesting form of elegance to F*ck Buttons, and while it's very easy to put out shields of unlistenableness, to have made an album as satisfying as Street Horrrsing takes a special brand of perversity that stops short of being sheer indulgence. F*ck Buttons have all it takes to rise above their attention-seeking name and become something very special indeed.