On the track "Sleep Startles," Fig Dish boasts of being "kings on the dung heap of new rock pretenders." Listening to this track, and others such as "Pretty Never Hurts" and "When Shirts Get Tight," makes arguing against their claim a difficult task. With intense guitar riffs, smooth harmonies, and sing-along choruses, these songs illustrate the Chicago quartet's potential to rise above the mediocrity associated with many mid-'90s alternative rock bands. Unfortunately, the rest of When Shove Goes Back to Push does not fare as well. Though far from an unpleasant listening experience, the album is uneven and sometimes faceless. The band tends to recycle the sounds of others rather than forge their own identity, borrowing heavily from Dinosaur Jr. ("Come On (Don't Come On)") and the Smithereens ("Bend"), among others. This is a pretty good album full of catchy, though not always memorable, alternative rock. Fig Dish has proven they are capable of better.
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AllMusic Review by Michael Frey