Album review: The Go! Team, ‘Rolling Blackouts’ (Memphis Industries)

July 6, 2011

Along with an inexplicable devotion to sounds that wish they could qualify as merely wimpy and anemic instead of slit-your-wrists depressing, the biggest problem in indie rock today is an attention span that does a grave injustice to bands whose sounds continue to evolve—or even just excel—but which are forgotten more quickly than you can say “next big thing.” Case in point: The irrepressibly exuberant Go! Team.

True enough, Ian Parton’s genre-defying mix of playground chants, hip-pop rhythms, textural samples, My Bloody Valentine noise guitars, Motown horns, Charlie Brown soundtrack jazz, and everything and the kitchen sink didn’t seem quite as fresh on the full-band sophomore effort “Proof of Youth” (2007) as it did on the brilliant, pretty much one-man bedroom-recording debut “Thunder, Lightning, Strike” (2004). But the recent “Rolling Blackouts” is every bit as strong, as well as an impressive expansion of the basic Go! Team formula via some exceedingly well-chosen guest turns (among them Dominique Young Unique on “Apollo Throwdown” and “Voice Yr Choice,” Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki on the “work sucks” rallying cry “Secretary Song,” and Bethany Cosentino of California pop masters Best Coast on “Buy Nothing Day”). Not to mention even more unlikely musical nods from James Bond themes to spaghetti western riffs tossed into the complex but somehow always coherent stew.

Add to this the undeniably infectious force of nature that is lead cheerleader Ninja and the massive hooks that Parton crafts for all of the songs above (as well as other standouts such as “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.,” the shoegazer-crazed title track, and the delightful “Ready to Go Steady”) and you have one of the finest party discs of this or any summer in… well, pretty much forever.

On the four-star scale: 4 STARS

 

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