Broadcast - Tender Buttons

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Reflecting their newly streamlined status as a duo, Broadcast's Tender Buttons strips their luminous electronic pop down to its barest essence. Initially, the album is a shock, and not always a pleasant one; many Broadcast fans have come to expect each release as a chance to be blown away by the group's ever-bigger and better sounds, and from their early EPs to the ornate Haha Sound, Broadcast seemed to challenge themselves by adding more layers and twists and turns to their music. Here, Trish Keenan and James Cargill push themselves to do more with much less. The pruning ends up being prudent; concentrating on just a few musical motifs, Tender Buttons has a uniquely fresh, modern feel. Sparingly applied beats, intricate but subtle guitars, and hazy synths dominate the album, providing a restrained backdrop for Keenan's quietly commanding voice and crossword-puzzle lyrics. As if to underscore Broadcast's new aesthetic, Tender Buttons opens with some of its most radical departures.