Review: Jack Foley
MODERN dance music may be in the crapper right now, but at least
we can rely on The Chemical Brothers to offer something worth
getting down to.
At a time when the super-clubs of Ibiza dictate the mainstream,
it's refreshing to find that, 11 years on, Tom Rowlands and Ed
Simons remain at the top of their game.
Their beats and rhythms may lack the out and out freshness of
the duo's wonder years, but there's no denying that these guys
still have what it takes to remain at the forefront of the dance
Push The Button, their fifth studio album, may lack
the instant accessibility of, say, Exit Planet Dust or
Surrender, but it's still an effective showcase of the
First single and opening track, Galvanize, is, for example,
a Middle Eastern flavoured mixture of urgent beats and brooding
strings that are neatly offset by A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip's
It's a grower, it's contemporary and, after a few listens, it
will have you wanting to sample more.
Regular collaborator, Tim Burgess (of The Charlatans), crops
up on track two, with some crisp hooks for The Boxer
- another heavy-hitting dancefloor buster.
Both tracks serve to ensure that the album gets off to an invigorating
Then, sadly, it threatens to lose its way. Believe is
a huge disco anthem that becomes overly repetitive and a little
too house-prone, which not even a guest vocal from Bloc Party’s
Kele Okereke can save.
While Come Inside, which drops a tantalising Grandmaster
Flash-style bassline, eventually falls into the same trap, even
if its full-on beats will probably prove addictive to the dance
Sandwiched in between, however, is the delightfully spaced-out
Hold Tight London, which places the Trespassers Williams’
Anna Lynne on vocal duties, in place of usual collaborator Beth
Orton. (But if you liked Orton's contributions, then this is just
The hip-hop vibe gets another workout in the anti-war track,
Left Right, featuring Anwar Superstar, brother of Mos
Def. But as good as it becomes (after a few listens), it still
rates among the poorer efforts on the album.
Thereafter, though, things really take off and showcase Ed and
Tom at their finest.
Close Your Eyes is a slice of psychedelic soul that
recalls the glory days of the Private Psychedelic Reel,
complete with a mercurial vocal turn from the hotly-tipped Magic
Numbers (and their Mamas and Papas-based harmonies).
While final track, Surface To Air, is another epic slow-builder
in the style used to close several of the brothers' past albums.
Featuring plenty of lush beats that build and break with effortless
abandon, basslines that fade in and out, and a truly memorable
final third, it brings the album to a soaring finale that uplifts
the soul - just like Chemical Brothers of old.
But the real humdinger, however, is Marvo Ging, a hip-shaker
of the highest quality featuring all manner of sliding guitars,
magimix flamenco guitars, sublime beats and spliced vocals that
recall the brilliance of Where Do I Begin.
It is during moments like these that Push The Button
emerges as a great dance album and one that is well worth investing