Review Summary: The Go! Team deal more indie pop dropkicks.
They may seem like the perfect summer troupe, the kind of thing that’d give Brighton pier (whichever one remains) a bit of sparkle, but deep down you know you’re glad The Go! Team is releasing this now rather than four months down the line. If you don’t have anything new to gorge on as you come to terms with this 2011 thing, then Ninja and co. can give you everything at once in this neat, not-so-little package. Much like Broken Social Scene or Architecture in Helsinki, The Go! Team is an ideal mixtape band, and on Rolling Blackouts
it’s as if they made the artwork and set music to fit; songs to hold hands in the sea to, songs to raise your middle finger with, maybe a song to put on while you walk around naked. Yes, friendly nudists, The Go! Team is all things to all people, with its doo-wop pop, its hip-hop beats and its instrumental piano pieces all going to a happy home. Better yet, it all fits when, as the album artwork kind of suggests, it really shouldn’t.
You’ll like Rolling Blackouts
if you like mixtapes, and you’ll love it if you want Thunder, Lightning, Strike
again, but bigger. The quintet delight with their playfulness once more, but this time they expand on it. Namely, it’s louder, even more jam-packed with hooks and quirks, and all for the sake of the sugar-hit. Electronica does the job, for one, with the sparkly “Apollo Throwdown” layered in big, bold strokes. But really, no genre can fail in the many hands of this collective, with Ninja’s rapping over “Voice Yr Choice” feeling customary at this point, and the belching music below- the sly percussion and breezy horn section, devised like a cheeky sleight of hand- the jam’s other half. Every song penned here borrows from the band’s signature sound (an eclectic instrumental, but they forgot to keep it instrumental) but amplifies it beyond that lighter sound we knew.
Even so, it’s tempting to call Rolling Blackouts
a wholly graceful record in the way it moves- tempting when “Apollo Throwdown” shifts from “Secretary Song” into those dulcet tones, but all swooning aside, graceful wouldn’t quite fit: the Team are loudmouths here, using turntables to fist-pump on “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.” and crafting cartoonish parade anthems like “Bust-Out Brigade,” an aptly titled instrumental that, for all intents and purposes, is vintage Go! Team. Rolling Blackouts
is still very much lots of music for lots of people, and noisy, but there’s a real fluidity to it, and that’s good: it’s great to write marching pop anthems, but it’s better to keep the march going, and for that reason the Go! Team have created a very impressive body of work. They invite their collaborators, even, to be a part of the band rather than a distracting feature: on “Buy Nothing Day,” Bethany Cosentino takes a break from her summer duties and joins as a vocalist, and she’s a snug fit, even if the song doesn’t have Best Coast written all over it; it’s a harmonious pop song, but it’s a group effort. Deerhoof’s Matsazucki, too, is slotted into “Secretary Song” casually, until the song’s rockin’ conclusion, and then things move on. This is a well-contained party record, one where Ninja doesn’t make herself or anyone else the focus, even if she does kick serious ass on “Apollo Throwdown.”
All this makes Rolling Blackouts
seem infallible. It works from top to bottom, to take songs from, and it fits the Go! Team canon with assumed confidence. If Rolling Blackouts
, mixtape-gone-album extraordinaire, does nothing else for you, it’ll at least put 2011 fresh in your mind. The Go! Team’s third record thrives on the excitement of making music, however they want to make it, and that feeling doesn’t go away lightly. Here’s to hoping the year is as full to the brim as this.