No Doubt had the world in the palm of their hands, after years of hard work capitalising on the success of the bands breakthrough album “Tragic Kingdom” and their enormous anthem ‘Don’t Speak’ the band found themselves bothering charts up and down each side of the globe, then the band went on hiatus in 2004 and for the longest of times many presumed that the band was done, especially when front woman Gwen Stefani went on to have a very successful solo career.
The band’s last collection of new material was “Rock Steady” in 2001, so it has been with great anticipation that No Doubt fans have waited 11 years for the follow up,early word from the band themselves was that this new album entitled “Push and Shove” is the best album they have ever recorded, so hopes were high.
I’d like to start out by saying firstly that No Doubt are one of my favourite bands in the world, and that this was easily one of my most anticipated albums of 2012, and also anybody that is expecting an album akin to “Tragic Kingdom” or “Return of Saturn” should turn back now, because that is not what you are going to get here.
No Doubt were one of those bands that was in great danger of becoming a band that time forgot, relegated to a period in time, being judged solely on the weight of their biggest hits. However, time away from the limelight, as well as Gwen Stefani‘s foray into pop music territory seems to have served the band well, as they have returned rejuvenated and full of life.
Starting with the undeniably catchy ‘Settle Down’ one thing becomes abundantly clear from the off, No Doubt haven’t lost the ability to pen a tune, ‘Looking Hot’ swaggers in behind it, all sass and sun drenched melodies, Gwen is in full on seductress mode on this track as she asks if we think she’s looking hot and if she hits the spot, I think we can all agree she does on both accounts.
On this album, No Doubt have shed the more punk elements of their sound and embraced the more ska/dancehall elements that were prevalent on “Rock Steady,” as well as showing influence from Stefani‘s own solo material.
The emotional impact of previous albums has been reigned in here, in favour of a more consistent upbeat vibe, although ‘Undone’ the album’s sole tender moment shares a lot in common with ‘Don’t Speak’ and ‘Running’ from previous albums, it’s a highlight not only on the album but in the bands back catalogue as a whole.
Overall, “Push and Shove” is perhaps not the album that people were expecting or perhaps were after at this stage in the band’s career, however, the results are somewhat unsurprising. “Push and Shove” is an album that doesn’t hit you immediately, but it does take a couple of listens to really get to grips with it, and shows you yet another layer to No Doubt and further emphasises what a diverse and unique band they are, whilst at the same time showing a maturity to their songwriting,but one that doesn’t overpower the fun side that the band revels so much in.
“Push and Shove” is long overdue and a great reminder of why people love No Doubt in the first place. All I would say is try not to leave it so long next time guys.