on February 1, 2011
Some people enjoy track-by-track reviews and others hate them. If you're in the latter camp, just read this line: "It was great. Go buy it." Now, on to the in-depth review...
T.O.R.N.A.D.O. - The album opens with a jarring theme that sounds like what might be playing out of the speakers if you had tickets to the Superbowl in Hell. One can only wonder what the acronym stands for. (9/10)
Secretary Song - If they built a Chinatown on the moon, I'd imagine this song would be playing on the streets. It keeps the energy going strong. Thanks, Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof. (8/10)
Apollo Throwdown - Continuing with the moon idea, the appropriately titled "Apollo Throwdown" sounds like space exploration music. Or perhaps music for roller skating on the moon. (8/10)
Ready to Go Steady - A J-pop song from the 70's? That was my first reaction upon hearing this instantly catchy track. (10/10)
Bust-Out Brigade - The standard Go! Team instrumental. Where would this band be without their Rocky-training-music anthems? I played an insane game of badminton to this track. (7/10)
Buy Nothing Day - The standout track of the album. Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast fame lends her vocals to the mix, creating a solid all-girl chorus, reminding me of what the Spice Girls might sound like if they were any good. (10/10)
Super Triangle - The second instrumental on the album sounds like montage music for a science fair. (6/10)
Voice Yr Choice - This is the album's requisite hip-hop track, and it brings the lyrics. I can't get the line "I'm his lady, pretty pink Mercedes" out of my head. Damn. (8/10)
Yosemite Theme - The third instrumental... well it's almost an instrumental. A voice comes in and chants at the end (you'll see). This is my favorite of the four instrumental tracks. It grows on you. (10/10)
The Running Range - Is this a well-produced tribal song? The chorus gives me that vibe. (6/10)
Lazy Poltergeist - This one reminds me of a well-written version of "Monday Will Never Be the Same" by Husker Du. It's a piano-only instrumental, but it's quaint and it works. (7/10)
Rolling Blackouts - If any song on this album conforms to the popular indie-sounds of the day, it's this one. Darker and grungier, this one sounds like the soundtrack to a weird 60's freakout. (8/10)
Back Like 8 Track - A rap-infused steel drum jam closes this album (unlike the previous two which ended in instrumental tracks). Luckily, it brings the manic energy we've come to expect from this band over the years. (9/10)
I think this might actually be a 4.5/5 star album, but I really want to see this band succeed on a massive level because they deserve it, so I'm rounding up. Thanks for reading!
every so often an album comes along that reminds you of the sheer hands-in-the-air joy perfectly executed pop music can bring. i've listened to the album start to finish 60 or 70 times now and each time it sounds fresh, vital and downright triumphant.
'rolling blackouts,' intentionally ironic album title[?] aside, is anything but. to the uninitiated, the go! team may be a bit to understand. are they girl group? pop group? 70's cop show soundtrack? cheerleading squad? the answer is yes. if it sounds like a convoluted melange of disparate styles, fear not. it all coalesces into some of the most beautifully flawless, melodic, infectious, catchy songs you're liable to hear -- in any genre. it speaks to ian parton's incredible dexterity in penning genre-less songs [or creating his own genre].
top to bottom 'rolling blackouts'is remarkably, and maybe even frighteningly, solid and consistent. 'ready to go steady,' 'secretary song,' 'apollo throwdown' and the title track are all standouts. but the real star is 'buy nothing day' with a perfect vocal delivered by best coast's bethany cosentino. in a just world it would be required listening for any aspiring song writer. it's a note-perfect exmaple of what pop music should sound like, at least in my opinion.
if there is one complaint - and it's not even really a complaint - it's that the album is a bit top heavy. ian parton blew is wad with the first six tracks with only 'rolling blacksouts,' in my opinion, giving the 2nd half of the album a corker as brilliant as anything in the first half.
three months after it's release it brings me the same joy it did the day it dropped. that's really saying something. hopefully it reaches the audience in deserves. if you're on the fence, take the plunge. it'll be the best tenner you spend this year.
kudos to you, mr. parton. you've accomplished the impossible. and i don't say that lightly, flippantly or with any hyperbole. you've left me with mouth agape and in complete awe. i salute you.
on February 1, 2011
Rolling Blackouts is an album that's very hard to put in words, but once heard is pure genius. If you haven't heard of The Go! Team, they're an odd, yet amazingly good ghetto alt-rock sextet from Brighton, England. Don't let the European aspect fool you, however-their music is pure Americana.
"T.O.R.N.A.D.O."- The first single from the new album, "T.O.R.N.A.D.O." is an energetic, synth-powered three minute power piece. It's only an okay song, though, and not one of the best songs on the album. It has some repetitive verses, but it's an appropriate introduction to the album. 6.5/10
"Secretary Song"- Equally fueled by synthesizer notes and power guitar chords, "Secretary Song" (with vocals from Deerhoof's lead singer) is a poppy song that preps you for the real meat of the album. It's campy, melodic, and most importantly, fun. 8.25/10
"Apollo Throwdown"- One of my favorite songs on the album, "Apollo Throwdown" is a spacey and exploratory piece that is powered by old-school rhymes and a funky, yet steady keyboard track. 9.5/10
"Ready to Go Steady"-The campiest song on the record, "Ready to Go Steady" is a pubescent dating anthem that is chock-full of Sonic Youth verse progression. It can get a bit whiny, but it's another feel-good song. 8/10
"Bust-Out Brigade"-A Shaft-esque instrumental that lets you know that something's about to go down. Its high-school band horn verses are gladly remedied with lighter choruses. 7/10
"Buy Nothing Day"-A beautiful anthem with amazing harmony lead by Best Coast's Bethany Cossentino, this is the best song to showcase the attitude and style of the album. A great single that should NOT be missed. 10/10
"Super Triangle"-Another calm, exploratory instrumental with catchy melodies. Its supermarket-esque theme makes it a weaker track, but it's nice to ease you back in after "Buy Nothing Day". 8/10
"Voice Yr Choice"-An experimental, attitudey, almost-rap track with dynamic choruses and verses that is a very worthy pick. Energetic, ghetto, and empowering, and with an amazing, yet short bridge. The acoustic, scratchy guitar is also a very nice touch. 9.5/10
"Yosemite Theme"-Hands-down my favorite track on the album. Almost an instrumental, the solid keyboard riffs backed by powerful strings in the background make it something that has to be heard to be understood. And the surprise vocals at the very end make it an unforgettable track that will uplift the rest of your day. 11/10
"The Running Range"-Although much weaker of a track than "Yosemite Theme" (which should have been, in my opinion, the last song on the album), "The Running Range" is fun, determined, and full of attitude, like a lot of the album. The flute really gets you pumped, and is the best part of the song. 8/10
"Lazy Poltergeist"-A very calm, dark instrumental that is in stark contrast to the rest of the album, "Lazy Poltergeist" is a much-needed break from all the energy. unlike a crash after a sugar rush, however, "Lazy Poltergeist" is actually enjoyable, if you listen to the entire song. Hopefully, the track doesn't get overlooked. 8.5/10
"Rolling Blackouts"-Pure indie rock, the title track is another track in great contrast to the rest of the album. It has some nice licks and riffs, but unfortunately its sloppiness can weigh down newcomers. 7/10
"Back Like 8 Track"-A better rocker, the last song on the album (and probably the last song for another three years, because the Team takes that long) is a powerful acoustic jam track with epic determination. 9/10
on February 4, 2011
The Go! Team provide us with it all- soul, funk, rock, pop, hip-hop...
This U.K. six-piece from the artsy city of Brighton took some time off after their sophomore album but are back with their strongest batch of songs yet. As I heard someone else describe the band's sound: SUGAR-COATED CHAOS. Evidently, many people outside the indie-rock world are noticing the allure of this chaos as the band has appeared in numerous commercials as musical accompaniment.
The songs on Rolling Blackouts could serve as not only the background to a Quentin Tarantio film, but also a high school pom routine. A true international sound can be heard throughout the album as the group pulls inspiration from all directions.
Highlights include "T.O.R.N.A.D.O."- I dare you to listen to this tune only once without hitting the repeat button!; "Secretary Song"- with the catchy bell melody in the 2nd half of the song; and "Ready To Go Steady"- with a chorus that is sure to wedge itself in your mind.