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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Go! Team

Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)

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Having a signature sound is a double-edged sword for most acts. On one hand, a unique voice will always stand out against the cookie-cutter rabble. Then again, it can quickly become constrictive. Once the idiosyncrasies of your style become familiar, you walk the tightrope between pushing the boundaries (and possibly alienating fans) and repetitive stagnation.

Take England's The Go! Team; when they burst onto the scene with 2004's Thunder, Lightning, Strike, their chaotic mélange of soundtrack samples, rumbling drums and double-dutch chant vocals was refreshing in its energy and originality. They were like an indie pep-squad, and the spirit was infectious.

Fast-forward to 2011 and Rolling Blackouts and those ingredients are on the menu once again, but Go! Team mastermind Ian Parton seems to be pushing them subtly into the background, lowering the tumultuous tempo and focusing more on melody. Songs like "Ready to Go Steady" and "Super Triangle" are positively laid-back, incorporating the kind of oozy, DayGlo analog synth sound that has worked so well for Stereolab and Black Moth Super Rainbow. If, as Parton has alluded, this is the final Go! Team record, it's a worthy send-off; if not, it's hard to imagine where they'd go from here.


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