Pushing Red Buttons
"Pushing Red Buttons"

(BlockChordMusic 2003)Pushing Red Buttons - Pushing Red Buttons

Pushing Red Button's self-titled album could have been a cast recording, like a Broadway soundtrack. Each song is up tempo with lots of energy and really sounds like an ensemble job (not surprising since the linear notes list seven musicians). You can almost see the band dancing along to some of the sweeter songs, like "It's A Really Happy World" in which "really" is repeated six times.

Throwing you right into the action, "Pushing Red Buttons" opens with the constant chugging rhythm of "What's Good For You?" Singer Jeff Lyons sounds, vaguely, like a subdued, more reserved, version of the quirky B-52's Fred Schneider on "Code of the Road." The album's title track is a quick and simple retro song that sounds spotless, as though the plastic wrap is still on. The power ballad "Danny's Private Life" leads into the jazzy film noir-inspired "Surprise" that ends with doo wop harmonizing. Pushing Red Buttons even have a pop punk side that they show on "No Fun For No One."

Opening with finger snaps, "Things Are Coming" could be used in a sequel to West Side Story…or a Gap commercial. "Contemplate my life of crime/Soon I'll be busy doing hard time," Lyons sings on "Things Are Coming." One thing that irritates some people about musicals is when they stop in the middle, exchange spoken dialect that affects the plot, and then break into song again. Pushing Red Buttons implement this trick in "Squares" as a male voice invites a girl to a dance ("You want to go to the dance?" "What kind of dance? A square dance?"). Pushing Red Button's other main lead vocalist, Rich Gaglia, offers a darker side of the band on "Voice of Reason" ("Well pucker your lips and kiss my ass goodbye"); the band trade lead vocals between three men with Gaglia and Lyons doing a majority of the songs. The album's final track, "The Sum of All Things," is a harmonizing easy rock song listed as a bonus track.

"Pushing Red Buttons" is pulled off well instrumentally with guitar solos lurking in the backgrounds of many of the songs, making them sound fresh. While not quite any specific genre, the album has a certain sing along quality that, due to its odd collection of sounds and influences, will certainly appeal to some.

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