The Chemical Brothers

Push the Button (Astralwerks)

Though 2002's Come with Ushad the brothers Chemical stirring all their past ingredients in one pot, the promise far exceeded its result. With last year's greatest-hits package providing a welcome breather for the techno innovators, it seemed a back-to-basics record was in order. But Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons wouldn't let you off that easy. Not quite a return to form but a slight edit of their own dance floor doctrine, Push the Button sees the Grammy-winning duo slowly climbing back to the top of its game.

As Tribe Called Quest alum Q-Tip threatens "I've got my finger on the button" on the lead single "Galvanize," we're treated to Arabic string bursts and hip-hop beats not as thunderous as they should be. It's a healthy start but a bit unsettling that the lads seem restrained from their normally explosive rhythms. Still, the instrumental tandem of "Come Inside" and "The Big Jump" possesses that aggressive electro-funk swagger that will start any party, while the Mexi-crunk of "Shake Break Bounce" is a refreshing detour for the pair. Though not groundbreaking, Push the Buttonstill outshines its predecessor without having to rely on past glories. With Prodigy falling flat and contemporaries like Orbital and Leftfield biting the dust, it's nice to see the Chemical Brothers, even in their tentative moments, still rockin' our block ten years on.

 
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