Friday, August 12, 2022

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Sound Check


cd Wheelers Album CoverThe Wheelers

“The Wheelers”

Maximum Ames Records

The Wheelers are lo-fi indie pop with a punk mentality. The band’s ethos — get in, keep the noise under three minutes, get out — serves the album well. When it works, like it does on “Ride by Fire” and “Braveheart,” The Wheelers crackle: This is the potential of the lo-fi indie sound fully realized. But even when the album doesn’t fire on all cylinders — “Passive Aggressive” is more or less forgettable — it never really slows the album down,, because the songs don’t linger long enough to be distractions. This is the kind of album you listen to in one go. The lows are hardly worth commenting on, and the high points are fairly glorious examples of what the indie genre can really do when bands climb out of their own navels along enough to fully explore their sound. CV


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cd Fuck ButtonsFuck Buttons

“Slow Focus”

ATP Recordings

For the Bristol, England-based Fuck Buttons, anything worth doing is worth doing at a deliberate pace. After their critically lauded sophomore album, “Tarot Sport,” the EDM duo spent the next four years working on a follow-up. This unhurried approach is carried over to the songs themselves — opening track “Brainfreeze” is eight and a half minutes of unrelenting, driving bass, and the penultimate “Stalker” is a languid 10-minute excursion that segues into “Hidden XS” and the album’s final 10-minute crescendo. All the extra time in development is also what saves “Slow Focus” from itself. Without such painstaking attention to detail, many of the album’s tracks would bog down under its own weight and become tedious and unlistenable. But “Slow Focus” is lavish and full throughout, and the above mentioned “Brainfreeze” and “Hidden XS” are incredible bookends that engulf the listener in a way few electronic albums can manage. CV

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