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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to…The Go! Team. February 12, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

The Go! Team. They do Sesame Street 70s style pop! They do shouty cheerleader songs! They do indie, hip-hop, dance. They do it all. And they do melodies.

Lot’s of melodies, lot’s and lots of little melodies. And big ones. Saccharine, surely, but there’s a groove there. And the saccharine is often offset by the fact that they also do atonal. Quite a bit of that too when the mood takes them.

Which is all great, but there’s more when they do some weirdly moving trick when they combine those with vocals. I really don’t know what it is. Is it the Sesame Street nostalgia thing? Could it be the female vocals? Could it be a combination of both?

Robert Christgau reviewed the first two albums like this:

Thunder, Lightning, Strike [Columbia, 2005]
The gleeful clamor of Today’s Young People listening to what they want when they want to without paying for it and dancing around like kindergarteners at a maypole or gay guys under a mirrored ball and no offense Mr. Businessman but this is their birthright not your copyright so butt out OK? A-

Proof of Youth [Sub Pop, 2007]

Just when you’re ready to give up and apply to graduate school, along comes a simple band who get everything right. True, they’re not very tuneful. But they’re danceable, Ninja raps plenty well enough, and have there ever been beats like Ian Parton’s, with their chants and strums and melodica statements? Plus a warm-up from Sha Rock and Lisa Lee, who I hope got their checks, and a sum-up from Chuck D, who I expect secured his in advance. A-

Kind of liked them from the off. Thunder, Lightening, Strike sounded like almost nothing else around at the time. I’ve never seen them live though a friend who did wasn’t that gone on lead singer Ninja’s shouty vocals. I don’t know, I think that was missing the point somewhat.

Kudos too for maintaining the quality on album two.

Mainman Ian Parton’s clearly loves his music. He’s also someone who is well able to pull together wildly divergent strands into a cohesive whole. In that respect he reminds me just a bit of Sean O’Hagan of the High Llamas because there’s something almost obsessional about the attention to detail on some of these tracks. And he also is someone who has a fixation with the 1970s that is either brilliant, deeply unhealthy, or both. Check out Super Triangle which is… er… triangular [check out also the video below, somewhat entirely permeated by BBC computer graphics of the early 1970s].

But if it was just him this might be just a tad sterile. Which is probably why he’s wise to feature an array of ‘feat. x y and z’ in addition to a tightly disciplined core group who have worked together since the early 2000s.

In an odd way the outfit this reminds me most of is the also pretty wonderful Cornelius and it’s the clunky aspect of the track listing that is responsible for this because the variation of sound is considerable across the entirety of the album. It is entirely unpredictable. Variation, but no dip in the standard of the tracks themselves.

Rolling Blackouts, the latest album, is great. Sonic Youth are always thrown into the mix in discussions of The Go!Team, but to me the first 120 seconds of the title track sound like My Bloody Valentine jamming with a power pop band jamming with, well… insert as applicable whoever you like. Secretary song [feat. Satomi from Deerhoof] is great. Buy Nothing Day is equally great, a huge big slice of pure pop that sounds completely fresh [and lets not forget that this is a band that has a political aspect to it]. And isn’t this what post-modern is meant to mean, in the best sense of the word. It sounds like a score of bands could use this to build upon, but that one group has actually brought it together… further kudos.

Some will love it!

Rolling Blackouts

Secretary Song (featuring Satomi from Deerhoof)

Buy Nothing Day (featuring Bethany Cosentino)

Super Triangle – none more 1970s instrumental.



1. EamonnCork - February 12, 2011

I’ve said it before World but I’ll say it again, a compilation album, or a book, of the ‘this weekend’ columns would be fantastic. In the words of The Cramps, ‘You’ve got good taste.’ By the way you should do The Cramps some weekend, thus proving that you’re also the most exalted potentate of love.


WorldbyStorm - February 12, 2011

🙂 Not just me, though. And by the way, aren’t you meant to be contributing a post in this series?


2. Tomboktu - February 12, 2011

You guys might enjoy a 30-minute programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning about the Old Grey Whistle Test.


WorldbyStorm - February 12, 2011

thanks for that… will check it out.


3. Alastair - February 12, 2011

I’m a Go! Team fan, but it’s worth mentioning the damage being on the Little Big Planet soundtrack has done to them. It’s a sure-fire fast track from engaging to irritating for ‘Ladyflash’.


WorldbyStorm - February 12, 2011

Yep, and there’s something similar on the ‘radio’ on GTA IV.


4. Mikeovswinton - February 12, 2011

If you are going to feature Mr Parton’s work, then you could put up the version of “C’mon Train” he did. Mind you, it mainly hit the public consciousness over here as the soundtrack to an advert for (I think) Visa Credit Cards, so perhaps not very politically acceptable. Sure he cried all the way to the….. you know the rest. (BTW on youtube its just under Ian Parton, not Go Team. I’m far too old for Go Team, though not Kings Go Forth, who you might feature in one of these things.)


WorldbyStorm - February 12, 2011

Thanks for that. Handy.


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