Over the past few weeks, there have been a bunch of albums, much anticipated, that I’ve found hard to get into, at best, or slightly disappointing, at worst. In the midst of these frustrations, the second Fuck Buttons album, “Tarot Sport”, has acted like a kind of big, cleansing blast.

Over the past few weeks, there have been a bunch of albums, much anticipated, that I’ve found hard to get into, at best, or slightly disappointing, at worst. In the midst of these frustrations, the second Fuck Buttons album, “Tarot Sport”, has acted like a kind of big, cleansing blast.

When I wrote about the first Fuck Buttons album, “Street Horrrsing”, I mentioned the likes of Black Dice and Growing , and a lot of the reviews of that record posited it as a British response to the new American noise scene, albeit a mediated and gentler one.

“Tarot Sport” is, in many ways, quite different. If there’s a connection with “Street Horrrsing”, you could see it as a sleek weapons upgrade of “Colours Move” and “Sweet Love For Planet Earth”; or, significantly, the Andy Weatherall remix of the latter, since Weatherall replaces Mogwai’s John Cumming in the producer’s chair for “Tarot Sport”.

Weatherall’s presence would suggest a dancier bent, which is accurate. But curiously, it’s also an album that seems far more indebted to Mogwai than its predecessor.The opening “Surf Solar” sets the template: kosmische squiggles, followed by squelching beats and slow, melodic chords that grind on epically for over ten minutes. The cumulative effect is something like Mogwai’s “New Paths To Helicon” combined with the vaulting ambition – the desire for bigness – of mid-‘90s stadium techno, especially that of Orbital (“Satan”, maybe?).

It’s a kind of music that tirelessly strives for grandeur, and consequently is always in danger of sounding pompous, or at least absurd. But Fuck Buttons – and perhaps their very name is a clue to how they can deflate pretensions – just about manage to pull it off. “Tarot Sport” seems to pile on remorselessly, building and building , even through the echo-chamber hyper-clank of “Rough Steez” and “Phantom Limb”, in which Weatherall’s past in the Sabres Of Paradise acts as a rough analogue.

Inevitably, though, it’s that monolithic pomp that provides the lasting impact: the fuzzy church organ chords and martial beats of “Olympians”; or the closing double whammy of “Space Mountain” and “Flight Of The Feathered Serpent”, which bracingly suggest an army of Boredoms-influenced drummer boys atop some craggy peak. Or, maybe, a hipper soundtrack to the next series of “Coast”…