In a recent interview with MTV, No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani claimed that their latest album Push and Shove was a “series of accidents and mistakes.” If that is the case, their experiments are certainly well worthwhile. In a unique blend of their original ska punk/new wave style and contemporary alternative, No Doubt have made a very distinctive, perhaps underrated, comeback. They might have stepped into the 21st Century with Rock Steady in 2001, but Push and Shove brings them very much up-to-date.
Guitarist Tom Dunmont explained in a press release that the album “is a perfect mix of our musical influences over the years” with a modern twist. This is definitely a clear observation, with the variety of sounds and styles, tied together by the distinctive ‘No Doubt’ feel of Gwen Stefani’s infamous vocals. Admittedly, some songs are reminiscent of No Doubt’s pre-break era. With ‘Settle Down’, a firm favourite with old and new fans alike, there is no doubt that the band are not going to forget their reggae roots, whilst others, ‘Looking Hot’ for example, show elements of, for want of a better word, experimentation. There is definitely something new there and it’s definitely good, whatever it is. ‘Undercover’, the song the band have hailed as their ‘breakthrough’ song, has a more modern pop and dance feel.
Saying this, bands change and quite often so does their music, so there are bound to be obvious differences to previous albums in their eleven year break. Of course it all depends on how you view musical change – should a band stick to their trademark style or experiment with untouched genres? With Push and Shove, No Doubt have found a happy medium. Original fans will reminisce with the ever present ska, rock and reggae undertones, whilst new fans can appreciate a more modern, contemporary sound.