Fuck Buttons - Manchester Club Academy - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Fuck Buttons - Manchester Club Academy

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Returning to Manchester University 'basement' venue Club Academy for the first time since my ears were pulverised by the fine band Isis last year, the signs are ominous for a repeat of tinnitus.

Up first, support band Factory Floor are a hotly-tipped three piece from London. Using a pulsing electronic background, reminiscent of late 1970s electronica and intense drumming, their sound is angular, austere, industrial and yet oddly celebratory. Imagine if Belgium won the Second World War and held a rave - the soundtrack would be Factory Floor.

On top of this frontwoman Niki, channels the spirit of Ellen Ripley and adds random jolts of guitar noise, using, at various points, a violin bow, drumstick and her hand; unconventional is an understatement. Her occasional vocal errs towards the gothic, particularly on 'Lying', sitting somewhere between Kim Gordon and Ulrike Meinhof.

They are hypnotic and utterly compelling and stroll off the stage with a 'don't give a shit' attitude after just half an hour, totally ignoring the audience. Factory Floor are a revelation.

After just leaving enough time to recover my hearing, Fuck Buttons emerge to rapturous applause and launch straight into 'Surf Solar' the opening track and highlight to their Tarot Sport album. It is a lush and mesmeric beginning which just wraps you up in a warm blanket, allowing the audience to feel its fuzz.

Standing face to face behind their keyboards and soundboxes, with Andrew sporting a rather bizarre Where's Wally bobble hat and with a glitter ball for company, Benjamin and Andrew produce a swirling, euphoric, electronic sound, punctuated with treated guitar samples sounding like pleasant chainsaws. Both add an occasional distorted screeching vocal into the mix and Benjamin adds live drumming on a number of songs.

The music, largely pulled from their Tarot Sport album, is excellent and largely appreciated, however it is difficult for them to connect with the audience, who at times drift in and out with the performance.

'Surf Solar' and 'Olympians' are the highlights during their hour long set but it is ended with an encore of the terrific 'Sweet Love for Planet Earth', which is as apt as its title, giving an uplifting and optimistic close to their performance, which leaves the audience imprinted with a knowledge of an evening well spent.

Steve Rhodes

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