Over the past few years, music critics have been quick to lump all electronic music under the same flag and have been quick to burn that flag whenever possible. The Chemical Brothers are raising that flag again. . . . and proudly. 8 million+ albums after exploding onto the music scene, they are back and better than ever with their new CD, "Push the Button."
The Chems (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons) have crafted a CD that, from start to finish, is simply stunning. The set starts out with the first single, "Galvanize," featuring one of rap's smoothest pioneers, Q-Tip, who was part of A Tribe Called Quest. "Galvanize" is great lead-off single: it will pull in those who know the Chems, but is also catchy enough to make some new fans. If you get a chance to buy the single, some versions are backed by two great tracks not included in this package, entitled "Rize Up" and "Electronic Battle Weapon 7."
It's hard to choose which tracks to highlight here, since I don't think there's a weak one on the CD. "The Boxer" features Tim Burgess from the Charlatans U.K. and starts out with a punchy piano line that is reminiscent of the Acid House piano riffs that the Chems were initially influenced by in the U.K. The track then breaks down into a genre defying mix of electro excellence. "Believe" reminds listeners that the Chems have not lost their love for the dancefloor and features Kele Okereke of much hyped U.K. act "Bloc Party." This song is a great mix of industrial and techno and I can't imagine anyone not being happy to move to its great beat and calls of "I needed to believe." They were even nice enough to give DJs plenty of breaks to work with, so that they don't need to wait for extended remixes to play the tune out.
Speaking of the Chems and remixes, they have always been huge supporters of remixers and remixes.
In the case of "Push the Button," the Chems have sponsored a remix contest on AcidPlanet and in addition, many of Europe's most well-known bootleggers have remixed the entire album as a tribute to the Chems. This unofficial remix project, while unreleased, is a testament to the love fans have for the Chemical Brothers and their contribution to the music world.
Another track of note on the CD is "Shake Break Bounce." The guitar riff that appears throughout is infectious and almost (dare I say?) a bit latin sounding. It works! "Marvo Ging" sounded to me like the Chems in their Big Beat prime. Fans of their classic sound will enjoy this track. Rapper Anwar Superstar (Brother of Mos Def) is featured on "Left Right," which would sound at home in any club that plays hip-hop. For those of you not really into modern Hip-Hop, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the way this track fits into the CD as a whole.
I have feeling that this CD may end up on many "Best of 2005" lists. It's that good.
Those of you who are depressed about the state of electronic and dance music today would be wise to buy this CD and listen to it from start to finish. Raise that flag!