If the Chemical Brothers were chefs, they'd be the kind who could create a gourmet meal from a fizzer bar, a potato, and the contents of the garbage can and make it so yummy that you wouldn't care what you were eating. "Rat? Mmmm. Delicious. Can't believe I've lived without rodent in my diet my whole life."
But the Chemical Brothers is not just for weirdo electronica know-it-alls. The Brothers may take the oddest things from the modern musical jungle, and grow them together, but the result isn't obscure.
The resulting tracks are so addictively danceable, so surprisingly accessible and so lush on the ear that they're often radio hits (the opening track "Galvanise" went to number one on 5fm, and is getting airtime on many other SA stations.) And better still - the Chemical Brothers make dance radio hits that actually MEAN something as well as sounding good. The themes of this CD are serious ones, war, human selfishness, abuse of power and so on, as the title Push the Button suggests.
But that doesn't mean it's a downer. The smashed up, mashed up sounds excite more than they teach. It feels a bit like being at an 80s protest march, really. A bit of work, but exciting too. From the first mad track featuring lefty MC Q-Tip to the uplifting trance-flavoured 11th track, "Surface to air", the energy is generally high. Even the dumb, 70s flavoured "Come inside" has a certain mesmerising appeal, though it doesn't stand up to focussed listening.
The Chemical Brothers composed all the songs, using eclectic samples and working with a broad spectrum of guest artists - from Tim Burgess's sweet Britpop refrains on "The Boxer" (Burgess used to be a member of The Charletans) to Anwar's polemics on "Left Right".A track featuring roboticised disembodied voices sits comfortably side by side with the sweet cotton-wool-in-the-ears vocals on the next (The Magic Numbers on "Close your eyes".)
Push the Button is fascinating, and great fun. If it's occasionally annoying, well, that's one of the dangers of pushing the boundaries - you're bound to make mistakes. You'll also occasionally cook up something amazing. What the Chemical Brothers have consistently done (with lapses of course) is take us on such cool adventures that we don't mind experiencing some discomfort, as long as we get to see what happens next.- Jean Barker
WHAT OTHER CRITICS SAID:Despite the variety of styles on offer, 12 (sic) songs spread over 60 minutes can get a bit taxing. Chemical fans will enjoy this new offering, new listeners may just find themselves wanting to literally 'push the button' - the skip button that is.- Nils Van Der Linden, iAfrica.com
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