The Chemical Brothers Push the Button

The Chemical Brothers Push the Button
No one would argue that the Chemical Brothers are synonymous with dance music. Thumping techno, psychedelic electro — Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have covered all the bases over their 11-year career. But in 2005, with the genre increasingly fragmented and big beat largely a thing of the past, the Chems’ heyday seems like it was eons ago. So a new release from the UK duo is more cause for curiosity than wild anticipation. Push the Button, their fifth studio album, continues the Brothers’ penchant for collaboration, kicking off with first single "Galvanize,” featuring Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest rapping over a Middle Eastern-flavoured beat. It’s an undeniably catchy track, but rather repetitive and slightly cheesy. A more successful attempt at hip- hop is political polemic "Left Right,” delivered with Jigga-style panache by Anwar Superstar (Mos Def’s brother). "Believe,” with shouty vocals by Bloc Party front man Kele Okereke, harkens back to the best of the Chems’ house-y epics, though their trippy electro-folk number "Close Your Eyes,” with sibling harmony group the Magic Numbers surprisingly registers as the most fully realised song. But while the Chemical Brothers have always played around with the notion of what constitutes dance music, Push The Button feels more like a hodge-podge of ideas rather than a decisive return to form. If they want to continue to rock the block, Rowlands and Simons are going to have to cut back on the clutter and find a new focus. (Virgin)