The Chemical Brothers: Push The Button

The Chemical Brothers: Push The Button

Carpenter by day, musician by night, Mark Ramos-Nishita (a.k.a. Money Mark) is best known for his work as the funky keyboardist on the Beastie Boys album Check Your Head. His analog keyboard stylings gave a retro porn-funk lilt to many of that album's tracks, and are in part responsible for the Beastie renaissance. It'll be hard for him to pull out of the shadow of that band in the eyes of the public, but he's making a valiant go of it. There's a carefree innocence to Push The Button, his second full-length release (after Money Mark's Keyboard Repair), which is somehow neither condescendingly ironic nor devoid of self-awareness. This innocence should in no way be confused with naiveté, musical or otherwise. Money Mark is savvy when it comes to cross-genre pollination, allowing him to effortlessly glide from style to style. He easily pulls off sweet low-fidelity pop and quirky dance-funk in a way that's more authentic than the music of Beck or Dub Narcotic Sound System, while his musical deconstruction recalls The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Somewhat unexpectedly, Money Mark also sings on this album (instead of only rhyming), and his voice, while not of the highest caliber, carries a sweetness and warmth that's refreshing and honest. It's perhaps Push The Button's most interesting dichotomy: ass-pushing funk back to back with sensitive introspection. With its wide variety of pop styles and hefty ambitions, Push The Button is damn near perfect.

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