Under Review: The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts

You can have all your year-to-year trends, your bands whose new album sounds nothing like their last, your countless ‘next big things.’ Thanks but no thanks, ‘cause I’ll take The Go! Team. Though four years separate Proof Of Youth from the newly-unleashed Rolling Blackouts, the time seems to have had little effect on the band’s tried-and-still-true model. Right from the start, Rolling Blackouts states its case with the snappy and bombastic “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.,” which features vocalist Ninja in all her playground wildness. Like Proof Of Youth, Rolling Blackouts employs a handful of guest vocalists, each of whom somehow manage to keep themselves from getting enveloped in the band’s inherently big sound. Satomi from Deerhoof features on the shimmering “Secretary Song” and Best Coast’s Bethany lends her voice to “Buy Nothing Day,” implying that she can, in fact, sing about things other than summer. On the opposite end, Rolling Blackouts is a showcase for bandleader Ian Parton’s arrangements. A series of instrumental passages shows off the scope of Parton’s compositional skills, from the disarmingly delicate “Lazy Poltergeist” to the strutting “Bust-Out Brigade.” The majority of “Yosemite Theme” is instrumental, too; the piece rises cinematically to meet Ninja’s brief appearance in the last few minutes.

Now entering their second decade, it would seem as though The Go! Team have reached a point where they can just keep cranking out records like this every few years. Naturally, this notion is perfectly fine with me, as it’s the variations on their own theme that keeps The Go! Team’s formula from going stale. Whether it’s the sharp horns that punctuate “Apollo Throwdown” or the echo-y AM pop of “Ready To Go Steady,” Parton has a firm grip on what makes The Go! Team’s music so unique. He’s not worried that his band will be seen as having creative limitations, because there’s so much to be explored within his self-constructed world. Rolling Blackouts is a portrait of a band knowing just what to do with itself; knowing what works and what doesn’t. In this case, it all works very, very well.

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~ by E. on January 31, 2011.

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