No Doubt – Push & Shove (Interscope/Universal) CD REVIEW

THOSE GWEN STEFANI records were really good. It was as if Madonna had turned into a really nice person and come back with a song-and-dance show that really meant something; it was Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ personified. It was both those things and more.
When I heard that her old band, No Doubt, were reforming, I hoped that Stefani would take her new, kaleidoscope-coloured persona back into the fold, and it might just turn this rather boring ska-rock band into something more than it was before.
No doubt, I was dreaming.
There are a few moments on Push & Shove: the carnival atmosphere of the opening track, ‘Settle Down’, and the reggae-dancehall groove of the title track, but that’s about it. The skanking ‘Sparkle’ dubs it up but doesn’t no where to take it, and most of the album is devoted to dreary, mundane power pop ballads and rockers that you’ve heard hundreds of times in minute variations on albums by other homogenous American acts, from Pat Benatar to The Motels.
I guess there’s some merit in taking ska, reggae and dub and weaving in power pop melodies, but there’s such a paucity of imagination in the songs and performances that it all seems quite pointless.
And I hate to say it, but Stefani’s vocals soon become grating, concentrating as they do on too few notes and seldom deviating into fresh melodic deviations. GARY STEEL
Music = 2.5/5
Sound = 3/5

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