Band: Push Button Press
Album: Spectacle 1
Label: Cold Transmission
All tracks written, recorded and produced by Jim Walker/Push Button Press.
The new album Spectacle 1 by Push Button Press came to me courtesy of Andreas Herrman of Cold Transmission. I feel like everything Andy has been backing in the post punk scene has been an automatically must hear album and this did not disappoint. Hailing from Tampa Florida PBP has created a complete concept album which uses dynamic and crisp songs which expose themselves in a fearless and genuine manner. These are the songs of a painter creating images with texture and sound. The music has a city feel. Hard concrete and sharp angles. This music breathes and expands with life, but shadowed by a dark tone and stark realism of it’s challenging depth.
Lets talk about what stood out to me in this album. I related so much to the vocals and the lyrics of this album. Jim is not trying to sound like something he has heard before. I feel the authenticity of his tone and emotion. This is an album where the voice you are hearing is not someone trying to create an image or previously created sound. It is a artist laying himself barren with his glory and flaws in a heroic bareness. His cadence is emotional but within a contained timber. While these baselines bellow and creep with a heavy and driving force. The Guitars striking and feinting in a icicle dagger dance. Creating such a roller coaster of volume and intensity. Those rhythmic vocals maintain their tone and desperation. A lot of the album strays into different genres like Mire and The Sea’s dance club beats but those vocals are what never lets this album escape that concept of a post punk landscape. That constant contrast and mental challenge are what adds such expressiveness to this album. The songs are not fierce enough to attack you outright, but instead are peeling talons that strike away at you in subtle ways.
Jim is on a journey back to the music scene in this album. The album drips with that sense of the experience of a life lived but the bright fresh eyes of someone discovering a lost love all a new. This was a theme I kept feeling and found so relate-able.
Transfiguration – Ok so I just spoke on how the even and metered vocals on the cadence on this album was the rope that tethered this albums to a single concept defined this album, but this opening track flips that on it’s head. It’s a brighter, cleaner, prettier vocal concept. “Because its over now, everyone has left, got here just in time to see the party end” This is a bass driven city hope song that sets the story of the record.
5’C – Harpsichord, who uses harpsichord in the modern age to break a melody line. Here the vocals hit that familiar flood of melodic dark attack that ties this album together. That tinkling keyboard line creates such a contrast that drives your mind to a sped up motion of isolation and escapism.
Mire and Sea – Again the script is flipped into a lilting ballad at home with New Order technique but with a Peter Murphy artistic croon in the vocals. You have heard all these ideas before but not at the same time. That striking sense of what is familiar with what you haven’t heard is a beautiful step forward.
Overall this album is full of substance and retrospective depth. It is a wonderful blend of familiar themes and dangerous synthesis to create an unnerving sense of sinister discomfort and welcoming nostalgia. It was an easy first listen and a challenging deep dive. Scrape the surface, unlock the mystery. Find what you can in this multifaceted experience.