ALBUM REVIEW: The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts

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Listening to The Go! Team often feels like you’ve been swept into an over-sized, time-traveling circus tent impatiently flashing from one decade of musical montage to another. They hit you with jazz, funk, pop, hip hop, soul and the kind of style and panache that any hit-seeking musician would give their right mixing deck for.

From their early beginnings in 2004 when Ian Parton released the Mercury prize-nominated Thunder, Lightning, Strike out of his kitchen, it was clear that The Go! Team were destined to be straight-up entertainers. Seven years on and they’re still making us happy. Loaded with catchy hooks, sparkling pop and hard-nosed rhythms, latest album Rolling Blackouts carries on from where they left off making for a record that can simultaneously bring the house down and raise the roof.

From the very get-go, 2011’s offering explodes in a flood of horns as lead singer/rapper/chanter Ninja hollers out loud first track T.O.R.N.A.D.O. Quite the fitting title for a cacophony that truly sounds like it could whip you up and rush you out the window, T.O.R.N.A.D.O. lasts all of two-minutes-ten-seconds before sprinting out the door. Second track Secretary Song, a collaboration with Deerhoof’s Satoni Matsuzaki, beautifully shows off The Go! Team’s ability to fuse cheerled chants with bubblegum melodies while Apollo Throwdown’s dreamy licks hark back to older albums.

An important element to The Go! Team’s worldwide appeal is their number of infectious grooves. Using wild mixes of cute pop, skewed jazz and explosive operatic rhythms, The Go! Team seduce their audiences to bounce and jive on the dance floor, in a field and in their bedrooms. This newest submission duly adheres to that same pleasure-filled expectation.

As Voice Yr Choice evokes hip hop beats with video game splendor, Go Steady feels like it could be the soundtrack to an awkward date in a fifties diner. Buy Nothing Day uses cuddlesome power pop to promote the worthy anti-capitalist event while The Running Range is the dominant, bass-laden piece that appears to have been ripped out of a gritty basketball movie.

A friend of mine once told me, as I was on my way to go see The Go! Team, that he had got bored of them. Not really wanting to focus on my friend’s negativity, I blanked his comments out of my mind, went to see them play and danced so much I had to have a long sit down and a cup of tea afterwards. What could be tired about a group of six excitable musicians that only haven’t made it onto a Quentin Tarantino movie soundtrack yet for the director’s failure to keep up with their charging speed?

For anyone who has never heard The Go! Team before, this record is a sure-fire winner. But despite Rolling Blackouts being an undoubtedly cool, slick LP, it by no means represents a new direction for the Brighton booty-shakers. The problem with being a band that famously concocts pop, soul, jazz, electro, hip hop and about ten other genres is that people begin to wonder where you’re off to next. Rolling Blackouts does not fail in its musical duty – in fact it’s a pleasing ride that brings merriment from start to finish – but, besides the heavier bass lines this time around, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before.

The Go! Team – T.O.R.N.A.D.O
The Go! Team – Secretary Song
The Go! Team – Buy Nothing Day
The Go! Team – Voice Yr Choice

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