Having marked their 10th anniversary at the top of British dance music with a greatest hits collection, it would be easy to write the Chemical Brothers
off in a genre that requires a certain freshness. However, Push the Button
is a spectacular jump back to the top of their game, intensified by the rise of dance music in 2005.
First single and opening track, "Galvanize", features Q-tip on vocals. It's a little more downtempo than the brothers of late as they got wrapped up in a need to produce a dancefloor killer to match the heady days of "Hey Boy, Hey Girl"--it's not too different, not too clever, but has enough of the necessary "oomph" to make it an excellent start to the album. In terms of classic sounding tracks, there are "Come Inside" and "The Big Jump", the former a big-beat spectacular and the latter a definite tune to be heard "out", replete with enormous slidey bassline and sticky acid stabs. A standout in a similar vein to "Galvanize" (although possibly better) is "Left Right" featuring Anwar Superstar. It's got a bold hip-hop swagger and politically charged lyrics over a chunky riff that wouldn't sound out of place in a seventies TV cop show. There are only two of the customary chillout tracks (think Beth Orton), there's "Hold tight London", an upbeat soca-styled song that's okay but not nearly as beautiful as sweeping epic "Close Your Eyes" featuring the Magic Numbers.
Closing Push the Button are two more guitar-based tracks, the country-rocking loop of "Marvo Ging" and the brilliant mish-mash of styles that is "Surface to Air", a sort of rapturous amalgam of the brothers' own "Golden Path", the Strokes and festival favourites Dreadzone. A fantastic end to a consistent album that easily outshines its predecessor, Come with Us, and will hopefully herald a great year for electronic music.--David Trueman
The Chemical Brothers return with their rebel rockin' fifth studio album that blows all stylistic boundaries down in the process.
Bigger, bolder and more adventurous that what's gone before, Push The Button is almost certainly their most accessible in a discography that has seen them chalk up an impressive 8 million units in a little over a decade.
As before, collaborations are plentiful with Q-Tip's wordy rhymes gracing the lead single, "Galvanize". Electronica returns to centre stage with former collaborator and Charlatan, Tim Burgess (who first featured on 1995's Exit Planet Dust), making a welcome return on the cutting edge, hook-laden "The Boxer"; a theme that is replicated in near-"Block Rockin' Beats"-style on the angst "Come Inside".
While "The Big Jump" will undoubtedly have the neighbours bangin' on the wall - this intoxicating rush of synthesizers, electronics and layered drum machines needs to played at maximum volume to be true appreciated and understood.
But it's not all steam rollin' beats and tormented wordology. Anwar Superstar (Mos Def's brother) represents the hip-hop nation on the edgy militant "Left Right" - a whirling dervish track with Middle-Eastern political stylings. While from the other end of the cultural spectrum Kele Okereke (singer with art-rocks Bloc Party) is featured on the chewier funk of "Believe" that employs both tuneful tones and obscure samples.
But all is not lost. Moby's long awaited Hotel will no doubt have TV advertising executives salivating in anticipation, while new sets from Daft Punk and Timo Maas show there's a definite air of optimism to be had and plenty of reasons to pitch a tent in a muddy field.
On Push The Button the Chem's once more utilise their trademark crystalline electronica, oddball percussive journey, and kaleidoscopic sonic textures. Once more Ed and Tom have constructed a blindingly innovative and relentlessly propulsive album that's an exhilarating listen and is a worthy addition to an already impressive collection. --Jack Smith
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