For Push Button Press, Post-Punk Angst Is Still All the Rage

Push Button Press plays Respectable Street in West Palm Beach on Friday.
Push Button Press plays Respectable Street in West Palm Beach on Friday. Photo courtesy of Push Button Press
If you thought the era of New Wave that swept across the Atlantic in the 1980s and ‘90s from the UK to the U.S. had passed, you are sorely mistaken. Push Button Press is holding up the flag high for all the goth kids out there that refuse to let go of their angst and skepticism and don their black platform shit-kickers with pride.

Push Button Press have come from the underground and smuggler dens of Ybor City, descending onto this world like a dark cloud of truth here to wash away our contentment. They are a rebuke of the sunny pop records that young suburban artists cultivate; they are the knife in the darkness that cuts away the bullshit and exposes the depths of our feelings.

With their first EP release in 2018, titled Spectacle 1, they have solidified themselves as the champions of youth everywhere who don’t view the world through the rose-colored spectacles that our parents thrust upon us. They don’t write songs about lies and empty aspirations; their songs touch on many of the same pillars of society that bands like Joy Division and the Cure wrote about.

Push Button Presses single “Night Out” paints the landscape of South Florida nightlife that many will never see, but most know it’s there. Lyrics like the chorus “Take a walk with me/See the bricks beneath our feet/It’s not too far to throw by now,” which express this want to rage and break society instead of going through another night of mindless imbibing. “I can carry the weight for one more night/I can bare the horror one more time.” Push Button Press delves deeper into this feeling of pointlessness and the horror of the nothingness that is the songwriter’s existence. It’s sentiments like these that speak to the disaffected youth of a glutenous culture.

It’s as if they are past fighting the weight of the surrounding mirage that we call life and have decided to simply speak truthfully about the longing that people have and the waste that we have all become. Reading this, one may think that Push Button Press is seeing something that isn’t there, but their music suggests it’s more likely you have simply decided to look away and pretend their nihilism isn’t founded.

Push Button Press is signed to Cold Transmission Music, a German record label; if there is anyone out there that understands artists like Push Button Press, it’s Germans. Ten minutes in Berlin would make anyone realize this fact. It’s tracks like the song “5 °C” that write about the end of the world. It’s the idea that the world is spiraling out of control and natural disasters are tearing at our civilization, and we simply ignore what’s happening by denying science and stopping all discourse by turning a blind eye.

Artists like Rob Smith of the Cure would be proud that a genre of music he helped foster into a tidal wave during the Cure’s time at the top is still alive and kicking because artists like Push Button Press refuse to stop writing. Their synth-heavy music that echoes both nightmares and dreamscapes has a profound impact on the listener. The voice of singer Jim Walker adds so much post-punk style too, that sometimes when you listen to Push Button Press it feels like you are being transported back to the ‘90s and all the grunge and attitude that comes with the era.

The song “Mire and the Sea (S Y Z Y G Y X Remix)” is a crowd favorite of Push Button Press, and is played in clubs all over South Florida. The pulsing sensations and the rolling goth thunder that is the drums of Mire and the Sea makes it a truly amazing remix. After spending a year of my life living in Berlin, this song would be a perfect example of what can be found in the nightlife scene out there. A city known for having the greatest nightlife in the world would find the remix to Mire and the Sea as a truly dark and perfect situation for the dancing german hoards that enter nightclubs all across the country on a Thursday night and often don’t leave until Monday morning.

One of the really great things about New Wave is that unlike so many rock n roll acts, the idea of remixing a record is a popular way of collaborating. You wouldn’t normally see someone like Neil Young or the Who choosing to have a DJ or producer remix their tracks, but with New Wave and the whole post-punk/goth scene, the idea of remixes work really well because of the synth heavy choices many groups make with their music. The other remix on PBP’s EP is for the track “Dream of Fire,” produced by Icy Men. The song is a track that feels like desperation, a desperation for others to force upon the singer their idea of what a dream should be. With lyrics like “They put the dream in my arm,” it’s as if he’s explaining that the dream is a drug that poisons our mind and we get addicted to the dream.

So, if you are looking to get a dose of raw synth post-punk, then do not miss out on Push Button Press on Friday. Their album Spectacle 1 is a conceptualized record that plays great live. You can get all dressed up in your pleather platform boots and smooth on your black eye shadow (totally acceptable for men and women), and prepare to dance to some truly spectacular music that will have you thinking about the bully in your freshman class and how one day you will show him.

10 p.m. Friday, December 27, Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-832-9999; Cost is $8 at the door.
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