Single from First Chemical Brothers Album in Three Years “Galvanizes” Listeners
It’s been almost eight years since the Chemical Brothers’ “Block Rockin’ Beats,” along with The Prodigy’s “Fire-starter,” made electronica a hopeful music business’s next big thing. Now, with Push the Button, their sixth Astralwerks album and first in three years, the Chemical Brothers are looking to do it again.

Whereas “Block Rockin’ Beats” was built around a brief Schoolly D sample and driven by a minimalist bass line, Button’s first single, “Galvanize,” features full-track vocals from Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) and an unmistakably Middle Eastern-sounding string hook just right for the times.

And radio is eating it up, particularly at Alternative tastemaker stations including L.A.’s KROQ, San Francisco’s Live 105 and Atlanta’s 99X, where the track has been the top request-getter for weeks. Astralwerks and Caroline Records GM Errol Kolosine says that stations across the board have reported a “completely elevated reaction” to the track, indicating that it’s clicking not just with the Chems’ core fans, but with an entirely new group of people. Other major-market stations currently pumping “Galvanize” include KRZQ, KZON, WWCD, KJEE, KBZT, KUCD, WRNX, KNRK, CD101, KMBY and INDIE 103.1. All report major phone action.

“This band has successfully transcended the whole, if you will, electronica moniker,” says Kolosine. “The Kraftwerk and Prodigy comparisons are completely outdated; it would be better to compare them to Pink Floyd in that they’re using state-of-the-art techniques and equipment but traditional song structure. There are many people who like and buy the Chems’ music who don’t even dance.”

The fact that the single is calling out so quickly is certainly an advantage, but their fans have always been rabid,” says EMI Music N.A. Executive Vice President Phil Quartararo. “The fact that radio concurs is a bonus to what their fans already know.”

Exposure on the Chems—a.k.a. Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons—has reached unpre-cedented levels. Rolling Stone, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Details, FHM, Teen People and USA Today have all run features, while a just-completed video is already being featured on MTVU, MTV.com,VH1.com, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music) and AOL Music. An upcoming U.S. tour will finish up with a bang at the Coachella Festival April 30. “Their live show is a completely mind-blowing experience,” says Kolosine. “It’s become a true calling card for them.”

Says Quartararo, who has a history with the duo since his days as head of Virgin, “What’s remarkable is that they seem to have a unique sense of the pulse of the music community at any given time. These are guys who are always on the leading edge of music whenever they come out with an album.”

Why is this track grabbing such a big radio audience so quickly? Kolosine offers one reason: “In the iPod era, people are no longer allowing genre walls to affect them. This band represents the culmination of mixtape philosophy. You know how popular ‘mash-ups’ have become lately? The Chems have been mashing things up all along.”