Fuck Buttons

Tarot Sport

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Fuck Buttons' Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power can't be accused of repeating themselves on Tarot Sport. Post-rock, noise, and electronics lived in perfect (dis)harmony on their debut, Street Horrrsing, but here the duo channel their intensity in a focused, rather than explosive, way. Hung and Power drafted Andrew Weatherall, who remixed Street Horrrsing's "Sweet Love for Planet Earth," to produce Tarot Sport; while the album is more overtly electronic than Fuck Buttons' previous music, Weatherall's influence is felt more in Tarot Sport's precision. Laser-guided beats and drones propel these songs on linear trajectories, most strikingly on the opening track "Surf Solar," which shoots listeners into space with a sleekly pumping four-on-the-floor beat and sparkling electronics that give the impression of stars streaking by. The track is so aerodynamic that it doesn't get truly combustive until two-thirds of the way through -- an approach Tarot Sport repeats often, and a markedly different one from the duo's debut. Not knowing when or whether Fuck Buttons were going to drape listeners' ears with celestial drones or assault them with demonic, Wolf Eyes-style shrieks was a significant part of Street Horrrsing's thrill. While it was probably a smart move on Hung and Power's part to not try to recapture that tension, occasionally it's missed. However, Tarot Sport may actually succeed the most when Fuck Buttons make the biggest departures from their debut's territory. "Olympians"' euphoric loops have a heady, heavenly quality all their own, while "The Lisbon Maru" is the musical equivalent of a wide plain: vast and majestic, even if the scenery doesn't change much. When Fuck Buttons revisit their dark side, they make it count, and they make it fit the rest of Tarot Sport's aesthetic. "Rough Steez" turns their first album's evil drum circles into something metallic and automatic, with pistons and pinions pumping and creaking. "Phantom Limb"'s writhing layers of dripping electronics don't just sound like music for aliens, they sound like music for Aliens. Hung and Power unite the album's often polarized sounds on the finale "Flight of the Feathered Serpent," which balances its elongated organ drones with flashy drums worthy of Carnaval. A more hypnotic and lulling ride overall, Tarot Sport may lack some of Street Horrrsing's pure visceral impact, but it's just as satisfying on its own terms, as well as an impressive step forward for Fuck Buttons.

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