By 2011, Sam Phillips had been experimenting for a while with on-line possibilities of art transmission and, after doing this, tweaking that, and turning a few conventions upside-down, re-mastered a number of musical tracks within that elastic period, presenting them in Solid State: Music from the Long Play (here). That CD was a bit of a potpourri but decidedly on the dark side. Had you heard only that release, ya might've come away with a Goth state of mind, and rightly so, but the disc reflected just one of Phillip's moods, and Push Any Button is decidedly different, a good deal more folky, wistful not funereal, mid-West not Forest Lawn.
A number of L.A. musicians sat in on Push, including Benmont Tench and a small chamber orchestra for various cuts. The lead-in, Pretty Time Bomb, is edgy but perhaps not the optimum selection, having an unfinished quality to it, while See You in Dreams is Romantic and grandiose. At times during the run of songs, one gets a Gary Lucas vibe, as in Things I Shouldn't have Told You, as Lucas, too, is an eclectician, and, in that, the unexpected should be expected. Still…as Push progresses, one begins to get the feeling that Sam's heart wasn't fully into it. Sure, it's brimming with slacker music, so that's appropos, but where certain cuts are breezy (You Know I Won't), others are lackadaisical, devoid of oomph, a matter of just phoning it in. That sentiment becomes ever more emphatic until, when everything winds down, you're sitting there wondering if you'd listened to it at all.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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