Album Review: No Doubt – Push and Shove

By on Tuesday, 25th September 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Whenever anyone ever mentions Gwen Stefani i have to bring up my interesting fact; when she was younger, Stefani was neighbours with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and would often sit around with her friends and listen to them practice. Which is a coincidence really, because Gwen Stefani is stuck in the same time warp as lead singer of RHCP, Anthony Kiedis, where both vocalists have not changed a bit since the dawn of this millennium (excluding some questionable hairstyles from both).

But regardless of the fact the Gwen Stefani has been singing with ska/rock band No Doubt for over 20 years, they are back for another album! With their last effort being over a decade ago, it’s exciting to see the upcoming release of their sixth album ‘Push and Shove’. The band announced a hiatus back in 2003 so band members could spend more time with their families as well as the fact that Stefani was itching to become a platinum-selling solo artist. The direction her two albums went in were very different to No Doubt’s ska/rock roots, with ‘Love.Angel.Music.Baby’ and ‘The Sweet Escape’ developing J-pop/dance and hip-hop themes respectively, so after 11 years it would be naive to think that these styles wouldn’t creep back into No Doubt’s recordings. They definitely had an impact on the amount of pop songs on the album; the band shy away from the ska-heavy music of their roots for sure.

That’s not to say the horn section has been underused! Listening to the title track and next single to be released, ‘Push and Shove’, it is clear that they are still fresh out of the dancehall. Just happens to be a dancehall in 2012, where tempos drop and reggae beats run throughout. Produced by Diplo and described by No Doubt’s bassist Tony Kanal as the band’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it is definitely the standout song on the album.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GehHM4Llgts[/youtube]

Cymbal-heavy ‘Sparkle’ is one for the old-school No Doubters who will be doubting the direction of the album, demonstrating Stefani’s unique vocal talents and the band’s incredible instrumentalists. As well as upbeat, percussive tracks, the band throw in a song like ‘Undone’. Much slower than what you’d expect from the band, but one that will become a classic for fans after a few listens.

Gwen Stefani may not have aged since the days of ‘Tragic Kingdom’, but it’s clear that the band has evolved. A 21st century take on one of the definitive bands of the 90s that will appease hardcore fans that have waited 11 years for a follow-up to ‘Rock Steady’ as well as a new generation of fans too young to witness their previous albums.

9/10

‘Push and Shove’, the first album from No Doubt since 2001, is out now on Polydor on two formats: regular and deluxe, the latter of which features a second CD with song ‘Stand and Deliver’, plus acoustic and remix versions of songs on the first CD. The music video for ‘Settle Down’, the first song to be revealed from the album, is below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb_zZ3xItPI[/youtube]

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