One-third jam band, one-third bar rock, one-third prog-rock enthusiasts, Pushing Red Buttons’ Foreign Film or Tango Dance? is ground-breaking in only one way – what the New York sextet is doing musically is original in the context of music today. During a time when bands tend to err on the side of emotronic or synth-heavy monotone numbers, Pushing Red Buttons perform solid hard rock. The issue is, however, the 12 tracks on Foreign Film or Tango Dance? fall far short from engaging, instead coming across as a display of talent rather than a display of passion. On “Girls Gone Stupid” and “Love Jihad,” there is emptiness in Rich Gaglia vocals, counterproductive to the message of the two songs – outcries against America’s obsession with war and sex. Beyond the issues with “Girls Gone Stupid,” and “Love Jihad,” are the driving keyboards, solid guitar licks, and thumping drums. While each is excellently executed, the trouble with them is the fact that they’re excellently executed. It’s as if Pushing Red Buttons made sure there was no room for error in their music on Foreign Film or Tango Dance?, giving up any chance for a subtle, rough charm. And it’s that subtle, rough charm that would have made the album better.
Pushing Red Buttons: Foreign Film or Tango Dance?