England's Go! Team play a fast and furious mix of 60s girl groups, 70s car chase TV themes, 80s lady MCs, and 90s guitar squalor. Their 2005 debut, "Thunder, Lightning, Strike" was critically lauded for its cheerleader anthems, syrupy string samples, and mad-as-a-hatter horn arrangements. This release bombs melodies into the stone age with its needle-in-the-red anti-production approach. It lurches from bubblegum pop to white noise in a heartbeat. Contributors include Chuck D, the original Double Dutch Divas, Rapper's Delight Club, Marina from Bonde Do Role, Solex, and Washington, DC's Frederick Douglas All Star Cheer Team.
Is it possible to sound like you're having more fun than the Go! Team? Probably not, going on Proof of Youth, the second album from Brighton, England's brightest pop experimentalists. As on its predecessor, 2004's Thunder, Lightning, Strike, the eleven songs on Proof of Youth burst out your speakers like tangy pop bubblegum, but on closer inspection suggest a broader, braver web of influences; many bands can remind you of the chirpy soul singalongs of the Jackson 5, the metallic guitar clang of Sonic Youth, or the cut-and-paste sonic collages of Public Enemy's Bomb Squad, but only one can do it in a single song. "Grip Like a Vice" and "Titanic Vandalism" prove the Go! Team template is present and correct, joyful melanges of car-chase horns, double dutch vocals, melodic guitar, and crowd-hyping rapping from MC/cheerleader Ninja. But there's more here than formula. "My World" is a simple, pretty interlude of acoustic guitar, shaker, and synthesiser straight from some Look Around You-style 1980s science show, "I Never Needed It Now So Much" is a naïve pop song featuring vocals from Solex, and the glorious "Flashlight Fight" is a Public Enemy pastiche that actually features Chuck D. Skill. --Louis Pattison