The Chemical Brothers: Push The Button Front

I’ve always liked both The Chemical Brothers music and their artwork. Push The Button is no exception. I was about to talk about their latest (and pretty damn good) album ‘We Are the Night’ but thought I’d wait to see if any more singles are released before delving into that one.

What I didn’t realize before starting research on Push the Button was there were so much artwork created for it. There’s three singles, each with a second disc and a colour variation, a live album, ITV and even two fan based bootleg remix albums! All kept in the same iconic styling and each supporting the iconic look of the album cover. And that’s not even counting press ads, posters, flyers.

The style of artwork reminds me of Soviet propaganda posters of the post WW1 era. Their limited colour palette and stark imagery stands out in a CD rack of over produced imagery.

Each singles artwork has a theme and is carried across both covers. The second cover was created the UK release where two discs were released. The rest of the world received just the single disc.

Galvanize was the first single and is themed “Construction” or maybe “Destruction” depending on how you read the artwork.

The Chemical Brothers Galavnize

Each single also had a alternate coloured cover. These were used to denote the 1-2 track promo copies of the album. Usually sent to press.

The Chemical Brothers Galavnize Green

And the UK 2nd disc cover. This UK version is one one of my fav from the series.

The Chemical Brothers: Galanize 2

Believe came next and again the theme can be read differently. The megaphone prompts me to think of protests and the spreading of information while the siren’s provoke images of warnings and dictatorship. (Deep I know!)

The Chemical Brothers: Believe

The coloured promo version.

The Chemical Brothers: Believe Promo

And the UK 2nd disc.

The Chemical Brothers: Believe 2

The last single was The Boxer. The international disc seems like a celebration or political rally while the 2nd UK disc feels like a political rally going back to my statement that the artwork could have been inspired by Soviet propaganda posters.
You could also say it looks like the Myspace logo guys protesting about how crap their site is.

The Chemical Brothers: The Boxer

The alternate colour here is a punchy orange.

The Chemical Brothers: The Boxer Orange

The UK 2nd disc definitely feels more political and was the only cover to use a script font rather than the bold, block text on all the others.

The Chemical Brothers: The Boxer UK

Artwork for the download only Live05 album also continued the art direction of the album.

The Chemical Brothers: Live05

The artwork was even adapted for an interactive TV promotion.

Push the Button ITV Chemical Brothers

This was in the UK where ITV is actually used unlike in Australia where it’s still in its infancy. More details here.

You can download some of the artwork as wallpapers and icons on The Chemical Brothers website. But with so much artwork out there why only offer two different desktops? Oh well. EMI were kind enough to send us print ready files of the covers so I can create my own.

A collective of DJ’s produced a remix album as a bootleg called “Flip the Switch” which recreated the artwork perfectly. They did this for the main album seen below.

Flip the Switch Front

And the Believe EP.

Believe Remix EP

This was the same group behind the Prodigy remix project the year before.

I nearly forgot to mention that the team behind the artwork was Tappin Gofton who have produced the last 3 Chemical Brothers covers, not to mention Coldplay’s X&Y. They commissioned Big Active’s Kam Tang to illustrate the covers. Kam was also responsible for the latest Gnarls Barkley covers too.

Sadly their website has no information and they’ve kept a low profile on Google.

The Chemical Brothers: Push the Button

The Chemical Brothers: Push The Button Front

I’ve always liked both The Chemical Brothers music and their artwork. Push The Button is no exception. I was about to talk about their latest (and pretty damn good) album ‘We Are the Night’ but thought I’d wait to see if any more singles are released before delving into that one.

What I didn’t realize before starting research on Push the Button was there were so much artwork created for it. There’s three singles, each with a second disc and a colour variation, a live album, ITV and even two fan based bootleg remix albums! All kept in the same iconic styling and each supporting the iconic look of the album cover. And that’s not even counting press ads, posters, flyers.

The style of artwork reminds me of Soviet propaganda posters of the post WW1 era. Their limited colour palette and stark imagery stands out in a CD rack of over produced imagery.

Each singles artwork has a theme and is carried across both covers. The second cover was created the UK release where two discs were released. The rest of the world received just the single disc.

Galvanize was the first single and is themed “Construction” or maybe “Destruction” depending on how you read the artwork.

The Chemical Brothers Galavnize

Each single also had a alternate coloured cover. These were used to denote the 1-2 track promo copies of the album. Usually sent to press.

The Chemical Brothers Galavnize Green

And the UK 2nd disc cover. This UK version is one one of my fav from the series.

The Chemical Brothers: Galanize 2

Believe came next and again the theme can be read differently. The megaphone prompts me to think of protests and the spreading of information while the siren’s provoke images of warnings and dictatorship. (Deep I know!)

The Chemical Brothers: Believe

The coloured promo version.

The Chemical Brothers: Believe Promo

And the UK 2nd disc.

The Chemical Brothers: Believe 2

The last single was The Boxer. The international disc seems like a celebration or political rally while the 2nd UK disc feels like a political rally going back to my statement that the artwork could have been inspired by Soviet propaganda posters.
You could also say it looks like the Myspace logo guys protesting about how crap their site is.

The Chemical Brothers: The Boxer

The alternate colour here is a punchy orange.

The Chemical Brothers: The Boxer Orange

The UK 2nd disc definitely feels more political and was the only cover to use a script font rather than the bold, block text on all the others.

The Chemical Brothers: The Boxer UK

Artwork for the download only Live05 album also continued the art direction of the album.

The Chemical Brothers: Live05

The artwork was even adapted for an interactive TV promotion.

Push the Button ITV Chemical Brothers

This was in the UK where ITV is actually used unlike in Australia where it’s still in its infancy. More details here.

You can download some of the artwork as wallpapers and icons on The Chemical Brothers website. But with so much artwork out there why only offer two different desktops? Oh well. EMI were kind enough to send us print ready files of the covers so I can create my own.

A collective of DJ’s produced a remix album as a bootleg called “Flip the Switch” which recreated the artwork perfectly. They did this for the main album seen below.

Flip the Switch Front

And the Believe EP.

Believe Remix EP

This was the same group behind the Prodigy remix project the year before.

I nearly forgot to mention that the team behind the artwork was Tappin Gofton who have produced the last 3 Chemical Brothers covers, not to mention Coldplay’s X&Y. They commissioned Big Active’s Kam Tang to illustrate the covers. Kam was also responsible for the latest Gnarls Barkley covers too.

Sadly their website has no information and they’ve kept a low profile on Google.





15 Comments

  1. Illustration done by the equally enigmatic Kam Tang.

    http://www.kamtang.co.uk/

  2. Thanks for the info Rob, I’ve updated the post. Kam has done heaps of stuff.

  3. I spoke briefly with Simon Gofton just before a recent trip to the UK. He was too busy to meet up at the time, but he seemed a pretty nice guy, he’d probably fill you in with anything you wanted to know if you got in contact via email.

  4. Thanks Chris, I had already emailed them a few days ago, so hopefully they aren’t too busy.

  5. When this album came out, I thought the cover may have been a sort of response to the Zero 7 cover that came out shortly before it.

    (does this page support html in comments?)

    But someone on a forum *apparently* asked one of the Brothers and it wasn’t. I still find the resemblance / juxtaposition interesting, as they represented somewhat different ends of the commercial electronica spectrum at the time.

    (Also, that Coldplay cover must be inspired by ‘New Order – Power, Corruption and Lies’)

  6. “(does this page support html in comments?)”

    Evidently not ;)

    Zero 7 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_It_Falls
    New Order – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power%2C_Corruption_%26_Lies

  7. [...] x40239 wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI was about to talk about their latest (and pretty damn good) album ‘We Are the Night’ but thought I’d wait to see if any more singles are released before delving into that one. What I didn’t realize before starting research on Push the … [...]

  8. Yo, check this out: http://chantsdeluttes.free.fr/mai68/images68/affiches/100a199/159.jpg

    Isnt this familliar?
    This is the print dated 1968 I guess, printed in france, its a slogan of revolution. Now the message is clear :) If u know french of course :p And historical facts about modern french revolution.

  9. Hey Xezzy,
    great find. This indeed must have been the inspiraton for the cover. I’ll edit the post to include this.

    My info on the French revolution is vague. My short trip to Versailles filled me in on some of the top level stuff though. “Let them eat cake” etc etc.

  10. Awsome this blog!

    Really great references! Congratulations!

  11. This is by far the best, most in depth look at a release i’ve seen so far on this website.

    Hadn’t even seen some of these sleeves before, makes me which i bought the singles as i love looking/sniffing my booklet for ‘Push the Button’.

    There is always ebay?

    Also i have to agree with your choice of favorite sleeve. Good Work!

  12. These illustrations are directly 'inspired' by posters from the 1968 Paris student uprising….

    http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Paris/paris.html

  13. [...] We covered this album and all it’s singles in great detail previously. [...]

  14. Soviet propaganda posters?

    defiantly based on the paris uprising posters created by the Atelier Populare.

  15. the main album cover = Takashi Akiyama

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