The Chemical Brothers: Push the Button
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.
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.
And the UK 2nd disc cover. This UK version is one one of my fav from the series.
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 coloured promo version.
And the UK 2nd disc.
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 alternate colour here is a punchy 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.
Artwork for the download only Live05 album also continued the art direction of the album.
The artwork was even adapted for an interactive TV promotion.
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.
And the Believe 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.