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4.6 out of 5 stars32
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 24 October 2009
Wow, this album is brilliant. Surf Solar kicks off and sets the standard for the rest of the album - almost 2 minutes of ethreal, spaced out bliss before a deep base drum comes in and is followed by a wall of melodic noise that doesn't hold up for the next hour. Rough Steez introduces aphex twin style tweaks and twiddles, and if you heard the base in a club it would hit you in the very pit of your stomach. The Lisbon Maru is a beautiful, building kaleidoscope, which melts seamlessly into Olymplans. Like most other tracks on the album both are close to ten minutes long - these boys don't like to rush things. Phantom Limb gets industrial, and Space Mountain sounds like it could be beaten out by an African tribe. The album closes with Flight of the Feathered Serpent, probably the best of a very good collection of tunes. Just as you think it is wrapping up at the end with some very Underworld-like basedrums, so the Buttons bring back the hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck harmonies that started the piece.

This is certainly not trance, in fact it's difficult to shoehorn into one category. But that's part of its originality and part of its brilliance. Just buy it.
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If this album consisted of only one track and that track was "Olympians" then it would blow most other bands off the planet. Luckily the whole being the sum of the parts "Tarot Sports" is much bigger beast than that. It is easily the best electronic album since "Autobahn" or D J Shadow did the final take on the titanic "Entroducing" and sent it off to the record company.

This is the sound of modern music being re-invented. The sheer volume and magnitude of the sound created by the F Buttons is mind boggling. The shimmering synths, weirdly euphoric melodies, the Spectorish production that concentrates on raw power and the emotion invested in this music makes you feel ever so humble.

Q magazine accurately and eloquently stated that "The seven tracks clatter and surge with gleeful, filthy distortion as waves of squall are layered like the sonic booms of multiple jet engines."

This Bristol duo of Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power are pretty uncompromising and have clearly drawn from those other giants of that city namely Massive Attack. Many of the tracks build slowly and clock nearly ten minutes. In addition the adoption of the bands name is hardly designed to get them on the Christmas edition of Top of the Pops.

Its a cliche but there is not a bad track on the album. In addition to Olympians I particularly love the dense and edgy "Rough Steez" which clocking in at just less than 5 minutes is one of the shorter tracks. Both "Space Mountain" and the "Lisbon Maru" feel vast and repay constant listening as new sounds emerge and nuances appear.

I played both "Surf Solar" and "Flight of the Feathered serpent" in my car I thought the doors were going to fall off while and I could barely see through the back window since it was vibrating that much. And that's the point. This is euphoric music designed to be played loud and by the end of it you slump exhausted knowing that you have heard an album of such surging power that not much else stands comparisons to it. The FBs are unique they make the Chemical Brothers and Orbital sound tame and dated. This is only their second album and frankly if it is possible to record a better electronic, hypnotic and ambient album than this then I would like to know how.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 April 2014
This Bristol duo of Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power, with the help of the famous producer Andrew Weatherall, created one amazing record. If you give your full attention, one hour of your time to "Tarot Sport", and listen to it undestructed, the chance is, it will blow your socks off.

There are seven tracks on this album, all of them surprising and joyous. There is this amazing opening track, "Surf Solar", which is over 10 minutes, but 10 glorious minutes, slowly building up only to shoot in array of musical extravaganza. There is "The Lisbon Maru" (my favourite?) which comes in waves and layers and sweeps you off you feet. There is the mammoth of the track, "Olympians", which is as ambitious and monumental as it is gratifying.

You know what, I love this album, it's absolutely fantastic for the sleepless night and/or a long road trip. I wish there were more albums like that. So positive.
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on 22 October 2009
I was lucky enough to be introduced to FB at a live performance (thanks Mogwai!) and was initially bemused by the chimp-like antics and heavily distorted budget synths, a feeling that was quickly replaced by a sense of wonder at their enthusiastic and shameless brilliance. I quickly got my copy of "Street Horrrsing" and loved it.

"Tarot Sport" seems to me to be a natural progression on "Horrrsing", a more considered and dare I say mature work, equally as consistent as "Horrrsing" but with a smoother and more refined feel. Gone are the distorted vocals to be replaced by almost lush textures.

I guess it's all a matter of taste, but there's something undeniably wonderful, optimistic and honest about Tarot Sport. Enjoy.
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on 16 October 2009
I don't think there has been a band quite like F**k Buttons for a while who can truly only be described by the word alternative. For them it is not a genre pigeonhole to be placed in it feels more like a philosophy. The first album was a slice of utter genius in a year when everyone including myself was going a little bit mad over Fleet Foxes, Kings of Leon and Friendly Fires. So just a year later I was excited to see that they were back with another brilliant 7" single and new album.

This time around the single `Surf Solar' opens up the whole album with twinkling synths that instantly carry you off in the direction of F**k Buttons own strange and wonderful world. Imagine your room slowly rotating around you and then disappearing down one of those old school spinning spirals as if you are travelling through time or something, and at the end of it you find yourself in world with a persistently pulsing drum line and a scratching lead line that enthrals and carries you through this blurred and distorted wonderland. The track builds with gradual intensity before slowly releasing you again. It's a strangely charismatic start by a band who a clearly very confident with their sound however different it may be. `Rough Steez' then follows the dying distortion of the opener with an ominous drone that is then overlaid by what can only be described as a tribal rhythm and what sound like stabs of theremin thrown in for good measure. This is followed seamlessly by `The Lisbon Maru' which sweeps elegantly at its start before a lightly skipping drum line takes over. It drives a nice synth like a tuneful saw blade and subdued organ part. The intensity slowly builds throughout with more synths bubbling in the background and others growing to lead the track, making it sound like F**k Buttons equivalent of electronica before fading out with the sound of marching drums.

So with your place firmly established in this strange and fantastic world `Olympians' swirls into view. Synths never quite give way to another excited and energetic drum line, subtly rising and falling in intensity. When the distorted saw like synths and more organ comes in it fits perfectly with this rise and fall, thereby creating not only a continuity within the song but also between tracks. The synths give way temporarily to a chiming lead line that holds sway like an ethereal interlude supported by the energetic drum line. Sure enough the synths return and they drive the track effortlessly before leaving the drum line to close the track out. The start of `Phantom Limb' bubbles and bounces very nicely with a slightly growing intensity that gives way suddenly to a more stripped section of persistent synths that eventually flow seamlessly into `Space Mountain'. The track starts with a twinkling lead line which eventually sits below a slow organ part and clapping rhythm section. The organ is eventually echoed and balanced by synths, and is further added to by a quietly anthemic line as the rhythm becomes more and more complex. The synths are finally left to close out this track and flow into the last.

`Flight of the Feathered Serpent' represents the end of your travels through the strange and unique world of F**k Buttons for now. Aspects of all the preceding tracks return here. The drum line here is once more energetic and intricate. It is initially overlain by a mildly distorted yet anthemic lead line and the organ sound returns to provide another dimension once again. Half way through the drums and organ are left to their own devices and then the organ even fades out. Echoing calls sweep over the track at points like the sound of the serpent after which the track is named. Finally it closes out with the anthemic synths delivering you back to the real world and then allowing the dream to fade out behind you.

This album is truly something extraordinary. You will hear nothing else like it this year, with its diversity, consistency and utter originality. This is an album that should be fighting out with the best as one of your favourite albums of all time.
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on 25 February 2010
Now that's what I call totally mindblowing!
How would you describe Tarot Sport? A mutant hybrid of Tangerine Dream and God Speed You Black Emperor is as close as I could get!
Pulsing, building bubbling psychadelic synths, martial drums, throbbing, pulsing, growing songs that deliver.
The production by Andy Weatherall is nothing short of perfect.
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on 21 October 2009
This album constitutes almost one hour of gently thumping electronic music which manages, somehow, to both energise and relax. Each track flows along, blending almost seamlessly into the next, and the net effect is subtly uplifting, balancing, harmonising and refreshing. It is a welcome antidote if, like me, you've been indulging heavily in effusive and emotional vocal stuff; it's almost like you can feel the alpha waves growing with every beat. :)
Highly recommended.
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on 12 February 2010
This without a shadow of doubt was one of the best albums of 2009.
If you like constant relentless noise done in an uplifting way then buy it now!!
A superb soundtrack for motorway driving or whilst playing a computer game.
I can't imagine a better soundtrack for snow boarding.
This is a future classic...the best way that dance music has evolved. I'm not a raver...prefering to listen and absorb rather than dance and sweat.
As for the one bad review referring to Suicide as where it started...rubbish, i'd go back further to 'Krautrock'...everyone has there influences. That reviewer needs dragging and screaming into this millenium. To conclude, Tarot Sport is absolutely a new twist for a new generation. I'd recommend their first offering Good Horrsing
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on 22 August 2013
Elements of Eno (what hasn't though!)' boards of Canada, chemical brothers, mogwai - of course and many other uplifting electronic music. Surf solar actually reminds me of Mercury Rev, and there are bits of mike Oldfield in there too....Ommadawn.... Great on headphones, but maybe lacks the edge of Mogwai or Boards to justify the 5 stars. Worth a own lad though, and I am sure it is great on vinyl.
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on 2 January 2011
If you like Orbital or other euphoric dance noise you will love this. Track 2 blows my mind like a sonic steam engine with a bronchitis cough on an antibiotics high while track 3 is drum speedball heaven. Track 4 (Olympians?) should be made the official opening track for the 2012 Olympics - Bring it on - just buy it.
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