Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Chemical Brothers - Push the Button (2004)

Imagine if you will that it's 1992 and you're visiting your friend Kevin. Being 1992, the world of popular tunes has not yet recovered from the Madchester years during which even Dumpy's Rusty Nuts donned fishermen's hats like that bloke from The Stone Roses and announced that there had always been a strong dance element to their music. Kevin himself owns an Akai sampler and has been working on a few tracks, and so you sit bored rigid as you listen to another dreary fourteen minute instrumental that sounds like a Depeche Mode tribute band failing to understand Marshall Jefferson - distinguished by a sample of some bloke from Eastenders saying wow that's like really amazing in the mistaken belief that the genesis of this massive club hit will begin with excited ravers stubbing out their ecstacy cigarettes and stomping up to the DJ booth to demand that tune with the bloke from Eastenders saying wow that's like really amazing. Kevin will spend the next ten years titting about with the same fifteen or so tracks, never finishing a single one of them, adding a sample of Bobby Davro or Ravi Shankar, changing the snare a bit and yet still failing to get anywhere. Kevin is the technological analogue of the guy who lives in the guitar shop playing Stairway to Heaven over and over.

The Chemical Brothers are better than Kevin, although that's roughly how they've always sounded to me - dance music for Oasis fans who don't actually like dance music because it's a bit gay and that, you know what I'm saying, man?; and so there's a load of guest vocals slapped on Punch the Buttock in the spirit of wow that's like really amazing - annoying because most of these tracks would work a hell of a lot better as instrumentals, and because I had forgotten that the Magic fucking Numbers ever existed and would rather have preserved that state of blissful amnesia. Q-Tip just sounds whiny and pointless on Galvanise - as he tends to do on everything, but I guess Brotha Lynch Hung was busy that day - and only Left Right really gets there with servicable raps by some guy called Anwar, and probably because it ends up sounding like an Anwar track rather than a Chemical Brothers instrumental with a sample of the bloke from Eastenders saying wow that's like really amazing.

I don't know if this is a great dance album, never having tried to dance to it, but it sounds like it lacks the focus and drive of proper dance music, belonging rather to that nebulous noodly genre popularised by the Kevinly likes of Quentin 'working class name' Cook and Viscount Felix Ponsonby-Smythe and his Jolly Jacks of the Basement, which was only ever dance music in the sense of Green Day being a punk band. Admittedly Push the Button isn't quite that bad, but it could have been great without the turdy indie-isms.

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