Initially, I ignored Bristol duo Fuck Buttons right off the bat, solely based on their name.  Expecting another pre-pubescent punk band, I couldn’t get past the name even despite glorious reviews and press.

At a record store in Ottawa, I noticed their second album, Tarot Sport, was produced by Andrew Weatherall which was the first shocker for me and the reason I ended up taking notice.  Like so many times, I could have kicked myself for being so hung up on a name, although I’m sure this will repeat in the future.

Minimalist in the sense of repetition, Fuck Buttons maximize every second with sheer layers of sound, resulting in some sort of irresistible hypnosis.  Their recent third album, Slow Focus, produced by the band themselves, is an improvement on Tarot Sport, something I didn’t think possible.  Like a noisy relative of The Field, their music is versatile and they could easily be on a bill with My Bloody Valentine or the Chemical Brothers.

The duo of Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power discreetly took the stage about 15 minutes later than their scheduled set time and immediately brought the noise with “Brainfreeze”, the opening track from Slow Focus.  Waves of psychedelic drone layered on top of tribal beats filled the packed Wrongbar with some impressive volume.

While the band’s tracks average at nearly 10 minutes, Fuck Buttons managed eight tracks over the course of an hour.  Half of the new album was aired and met with an enthusiastic response, when the crowd was able to have their appreciation heard over the sound that barely let up over the course of the night.  Other highlights included “Surf Solar” and “Olympians” from Tarot Sport which were also featured in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

However, one element was missing and it was a major one – the visual component.  Performing in virtual darkness seemed to have dampened the vibe on a show that should have been truly euphoric.  I know they do have the visual element, and I wish I didn’t read about recent British shows featuring said visuals.  I’m guessing logistics or financing is the reason this was missing and that was a real disappointment to yours truly.  Their music begs for visuals, so I closed my eyes through most of their set and imagined my own set of visuals.

There was no encore and the band was out the front door of the venue before the house music came on confirming the end of the gig.  While not a household name, and with that moniker probably never will be,  the duo deserves more of a chance than I initially gave them.  An impressive sounding gig would have been one of the year’s highlights if they gave it the visuals the songs deserve.

Thanks to Embrace to media access.