[ATP/R; 2009]

Fuck Buttons, with their debut Street Horrrsing in 2008 were onto something with their melting pot of sound. Despite using audible cues taken from groups like Black Dice, Growing, Boredoms and then even incorporating power electronics on top of that (photos exist of early Fuck Buttons concerts with a wired-up washing machine drum, no joke), they balanced it damned near perfectly. For those wondering if anything solid could come out of such types of music, Street Horrrsing answered with a resounding YES.

Unfortunately, it now seems that the band has taken a route that seems more like a u-turn rather than going further. Granted, there were hints of this direction coming from the duo’s then-guest remixer Andy Weatherall, with his remix of “Sweet Love for Planet Earth.” Stripping down the dense layers of distorted melodies and giving them the space of Weatherall’s trademark dubby productions (made most famous in 1992 on Primal Scream’s Screamadelia) was quite nice on the b-side of the Colours Move 12″. But does it work for an entire album? No.

Instead of sounding progressive, Tarot Sport comes off as something canned and streamlined, perhaps even retro in production. That is to say, it is a crying shame that Fuck Buttons are recalling 90s techno acts such as Underworld and Leftfield as opposed to more-forward thinking groups like Growing. Indeed, it almost seems as if Weatherall and Fuck Buttons have decided to go on a paint-by-numbers trek through the world of rave. The once fierce waves of distortion made soft around the edges and then reduced to the incredibly bland soft-loud-soft formula, and the pulverizing beats made into hands-in-the-air bog standard samples.

60%