Friday, September 14, 2007

#20: The Go! Team>Proof of Youth>White men can't jump, but white boys and girls can make you want to

Artist : The Go! Team
Album : Proof of Youth (2nd Domestic LP)
Release : 09.11.07
Year Founded : 2005
Label Name : Sub Pop
Catalog # : 750
Packaging Type : Double-Disc Jewel Case (Album Disc w/Bonus Disc)
Members : Jamie Bell, Sam Dook, Ian Parton, Chi Fukami Taylor, Kaori Tsuchida, Ninja
Runtime : 36:20
Area Tour Dates : 10.25.07 @ The Paradise, Boston
Sound Season : Summer
iTunes Worthy Tracks : Grip Like a Vice, Titanic Vandalism, Flashlight Fight
Rating : A-

The Go! Team are the perfect soundtrack to a Dr. J highlight reel. The kind where cartoon stars shoot out of the net.

The songs often have a synthesized old school hip-hop handclap beat, with live drums over the top to fill out the energy. And lots more — I mean, this stuff is seriously dense, like grandma's meatloaf.

There are empassioned blasts of funk-inspired horns, and things like recorder, glockenspiel and harmonica that add flourishes of psychedelic detail. The bouncy bass really gives the groove a spine and the guitar lends melody support and texture behind the vocals, which are clearly the focal point (with the exception of occassional instrumental tracks, which are fewer in number and less developed than on Thunder Lightning Strike).

The vocals are really what makes The Go! Team stand out as something different. They're part old school hip-hop (think J.J Fad), part cheerleading squad and part double-dutch team. They're recorded and presented in such a way that the listener can't really distinguish them from the samples that burst around them. And just in case you didn't make all the painfully obvious hip-hop connections all over Proof of Youth, Chuck D comes in to school your ass on "Flashlight Fight," easily the most kickass, nod your head, all-out slam dunk anthem ever.

The only thing that works against the team with this release is that is has lost some of its diversity of sound. There are only two instrumentals on this album as compared with the five on their debut album and rather than using the time away from the vocals to do something a little different, it is instead pretty much just another party song minus the "rah, rah, rah." Thunder Lightning Strike had a lot more garage band sound, which really was a great contrast to the hip-hop elements. And although Proof of Youth is still decidedly rock, I can't help feeling that some of the great songwriting has been squashed in favor of creating a battering ram of happy.

The Go! Team do what they do really well, and that is make you want to go out and take over the world by shooting everyone with your fun laser. Sad emo boys would become chimps wearing beanies riding mini-motorbikes, stuffy company execs would become pro laser tag players and we'd all be basejumping off of chocolate mountains into rivers of pudding. Who can't see the beauty in such a world?

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