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The Go! Team’s eclectic new album shows versatility

September 27, 2007

Like a dance record on speed, The Go! Team’s newest album, Proof of Youth, continues their unique, brit-hop sound. And what a sound it is. Take your favorite TV show theme songs, add a fury of cheerleaders, mix in a marching band, multiply it with some 70s funk, and that’s approximately what The Go! Team sounds like. Their debut album, Thunder, Lightning, Strike showed what they could accomplish with an eclectic group of six, with names ranging from the group leader/ex-film maker, Ian Parton, to the band’s actress-turned-lead vocalist, Ninja.

So what have The Go! Team done to push their second album? Very little. Why bother? There are still few bands that can match their vibe, and they’re just as fresh now as they were a few years back. Take the first song, the girl power trip, “Grip Like A Vice.” It introduces itself with a repeated, jolting guitar riff with the sound of wind heard in the background, like they’re the only ones on top of their own mountain. When the vocals hit, so does the rest of the band as they shout, “Get ready for this! Get ready for this!” And you better be. “Doing It Right” is a catchy-as-hell ditty that’s a fusion of the Sesame Street theme song and Martha and the Vandella’s “Nowhere to Run,” and completed with xylophone and the chorus, “Do it! Do it! All right!”

Proof of Youth heavily borrows from other influences. The song “Fake ID” shows The Go! Team’s rock side by mimicking Blondie, with its vocal melody as an almost dead ringer for Deborah Harry. “Keys to the City” has guitars that allude to Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” and “Flashlight Fight” brings back old school rap in the tradition of Run- DMC (the song features vocals from Public Enemy’s Chuck D).

The album does have its share of slumps. “My World” sounds like a Paul Simon reject melded with elevator jingles, resulting in a boring, although short, song. Another dud is the cheesy Donnie and Marie rip-off, “I Never Needed It So Much.” These songs stick out, in a bad way, with their low-key and forgettable melodies and choruses that pale in comparison to the rest of the album.
However, when these songs are followed by a storm of cymbals and Quincy Jones-certified bass rhythms of “Titanic Vandalism,” or the killer sound The Go! Team manages to get out of a banjo in the John Mellencamp tribute “The Wrath of Marcie,” the less than exuberant songs are easily made up for. The verdict is simple enough: whether you’ve never heard of The Go! Team before, or if you loved their debut, Proof of Youth is a must-hear. Don’t think about it, just do it. Yeah!

Matthew Loosbrock is a student at UW-River Falls.