The Go! Team's main man Ian Parton has always shown a great deal of skill (and no doubt love) for folding Northern Soul obscurities into white-hot hip hop tracks, and stretching them further still into what might seem to some an wild oxymoron: indie rock party jams guaranteed to make even the most jaded hispter in the room get down a little. It was his patchwork approach to layering sample after sample then topping them off with live instruments and vocals to create new and very exciting sounds that earned the project a Mercury Prize nomination back in 2005 for their debut, Thunder Lightening Strike. Not bad for a record composed largely in the kitchen of Parton's parents.
On The Go! Team's third effort, Rolling Blackouts, they've upped the ante. This time the samples are worked into existing song structures, not the other way around. The results are fully fleshed-out, next-generation soul stompers and delightful indie pop nuggets that are light years ahead in gravity and innovation than anything else in the genre using the same Phil Spector sleigh-bells, drum beats, and girl-group style vocals.
And those distinct vocals are offered up beautifully on this record by two notable guest stars, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and Deerhoof's Sartomi Matsuzaki. On "Buy Nothing Day," Cosentino takes an already insanely catchy chorus, and sends it soaring into the stratosphere. Surely her performance will make the average listener's stomach flip once or twice in the process. Matsuzaki, on the other hand delivers the playful "Secretary Song," in the most cunning fashion with just the right ratio of sass to whistfulness in her voice. Resident femme fatale MC is here for the party too, however, her appearances are few and far between, as she's sharing some mic space with a 19 year old Floridian rapper who goes by the name Dominique Young Unique. Both women are clearly forces to be reckoned with, and each of their songs display their individual skill nicely.
Perhaps it's "Back Like 8 Track," the closing song on Rolling Blackouts -- with its crunchy indie guitar sound, horn section, and shout-along chorus -- that best showcases the fact that The Go! Team are more on top of their game than ever. Then again, "Ready to Go Steady," demonstrates the group’s unique ability to deeply funkify what by all rights should be a simple pop song and elevate it to irresistible heights. But ultimately it’s probably the fact that The Go! Team owns each disparate style with such confidence and ease that makes Rolling Blackouts one of the most electrifying records of the year so far.
-- Marion Hodges, KCRW Music Host
Rolling Blackouts will be available to stream on demand from January 24 through February 22, 2011.
Artist website: http://www.thegoteam.co.uk
2. Secretary Song
3. Apollo Throwdown
4. Ready To Go Steady
5. Bust-Out Brigade
6. Buy Nothing Day
7. Super Triangle
8. Voice Yr Choice
9. Yosemite Theme
10. The Running Range
11. Lazy Poltergeist
12. Rolling Blackouts
13. Back Like 8 Track