Album: The Chemical Brothers

Push the Button, VIRGIN
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The Independent Culture

It says much for the diversity of The Chemical Brothers' musical tastes that, even at a time when the dance-rock scene's other movers and shakers, notably The Prodigy, seem to have lost the ability to create new wrinkles in the pop landscape, they can still squeeze a decent riff or two out of the form. But there are signs here that Tom and Ed, too, might be visiting the well more often than is advisable. The decent riffs on Push the Button are primarily those which bookend the album - the already familiar "Galvanize", with its Arabic string sample and Q-Tip's second high-profile guest rap in about as many months (following his contribution to "The Outsiders", the best track on REM's underrated Around the Sun); and "Surface to Air", which closes the album. In between these two beauties, though, the rewards are rather thinner on the ground than before, and are offset by stinkers like "Left Right", in which horrid prog-rock keyboard flourishes collude with one of the more politically questionable raps of recent times. But "Hold Tight London" and "Close Your Eyes" blossom, and, for those in search of Big Beat techno, "Believe" pumps away to satisfying effect.