I remember when I first heard The Go! Team’s music, it was at a party of a friend of mine and he was going on about this band he’d heard and how different they were, he was having a hard time explaining it verbally so he decided to put it on so I could listen. The album was their debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike and was met with varying reactions from the party crowd, not many of them positive it has to be said, but I was intrigued. Now I have got to know their music a lot better the negative reactions surprise me as I think they sound like the perfect party band! Anyway, I was interested and when my mate said he was thinking of seeing them live I decided to join him. The gig had one of the most eclectic lineups I’ve seen, support acts being The Pipettes and DJ Scotch Egg! At the time however I had heard of neither, so was more than a little surprised when four (or was it 3? It was a good few years ago!) very attractive women dressed in matching 60s dresses and hairstyles took to the stage. My surprise at them though was as nothing compared to my boggling eyes and mind when DJ Scotch Egg arrived and started to play tinny lightning speed hardcore dance beats from an old Nintendo Gameboy, screaming unintelligibly through a megaphone and throwing mini scotch eggs into the crowd!
As it turns out, these unusual, but undeniably fun, support acts were a rather shrewd move as when The Go! Team came on everyone in the crowd was already fired up and ready to boogie from the opening number. It turned into one of the most fun and memorable gigs I’ve ever been to.
This sealed my love for Thunder, Lightning, Strike and I was not surprised to hear tracks being used during TV links, a sure sign of success! It also led to my massive disappointment with their next album Proof of Youth, it just seemed flat and no track really grabbed me, apart from perhaps “Grip Like A Vice”. It sounded like they’d rushed to try and get a TLS part two and failed.
Happily I can say that Rolling Blackouts is a great return to form, it really seems to recapture the exuberance of Thunder, Lightning, Strike that I thought was so absent on Proof of Youth. It is not vastly different in style, The Go! Team have found their niche and are sticking to it. So we still have the samples, the handclaps and what sounds like a school sports hall full of over excited teenagers joining in on the choruses! The hexagonal collage of images in the album artwork also reflects the mash-up feel to their music.
Highlights for me are “Buy Nothing Day” with its incredibly infectious chorus I find myself involuntarily whistling or singing along to, and closer “Back Like 8 Track” with its lovely guitar hook and triumphant horns.
There are a couple of instrumental tracks on here that are also worthy of a mention, “Bust Out Brigade” has an insistent brass intro that just immediately brought to mind a 70s cop show, I could clearly imagine a car squealing around corners Bullitt-style with the cops hot on their tail! Later in the track this idea is reinforced by a sound clearly impersonating sirens. The other instrumental track that really conjured up mental images was “Super Triangle” whose synth reminded me a lot of 70s school science TV programmes, I smiled fondly at that memory and then laughed as I suddenly realised it reminded me more of the first series of the truly excellent BBC spoof “Look Around You“, “Bless you ants, blants!” 😀
Rolling Blackouts definitely restores my fondness for The Go! Team and is one of the most “feel good” albums I’ve heard in a while! A little bit of trivia, in the second video below you may notice Satomi from Deerhoof on vocals, and starring in it.