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Album Review
Rolling Blackouts

Rolling Blackouts
by The Go! Team

Shock Records

Review Date
22nd March
Reviewed by
Courtney Sanders

On Rolling Blackouts, The Go! Team has channeled their soft side to write an unrelenting pop album that is both moving and exhausting.

Conceived by Ian Parton, the mastermind then went about recruiting members for the final line-up of sextet The Go! Team. And while their respective place on previous albums Thunder Lightening Strike! and Proof of Youth is notable, Parton (as was well documented) controlled every aspect of the writing and recording process, leaving both albums at times feeling formulaic rather than collaborative. Furthermore, although each album contained explosive singles – ‘Ladyflash’ on Thunder, Lightening, Strike! and ‘Grip Like a Vice’ on Proof of Youth – the remainder of the tracks often failed to resonate.

Latest release, Rolling Blackouts, remedies these situations in a couple of ways. Firstly, the relationship between each member of The Go! Team seems (if on record only) to have notable improved, allowing originality and honesty in musicality and lyricisim that was previously missing. Take ‘Ready to Go Steady’ for example, a cute, ballady pop song with Ninja’s heartfelt lyrics rollicking along beside appropriately upbeat horn and xylophone sections. ‘Voice Yr Choice’ is another apt example, where sentimental insecurity is replaced by a Dominique Young Unique vocal throw down. Which is the other place Rolling Blackouts excels. Collaborations. The thirteen tracks are all written by The Go! Team, but like the recruitment of Chuck D on Proof of Youth, the band have hired a bevy of niche artists to take respective tracks to the next level, imbuing the whole album with another dimension of energy and musical aptitude. Highlights are The London African Gospel Choir’s off-kilter, staccato performance on ‘The Running Range’, and Bethany Cosentino AKA Best Coast on ‘Buy Nothing Day’, which is a perfect example of marrying artists to suited tracks. Cosentino is concerned with her usual subject matter, boys and the daily grind, in a way that is uniquely The Go! Team. I can’t ever imagine Cosentino enlisting a combination of cowbells, synthesizers and drummers for her chill wave, cat loving pop hits. ‘Secretary Song’ rounds out the most notable cameo’s with Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof lending vocals giving this track an almost 5, 6, 7, 8’s Japanese pop vibe.

It’s not as if The Go! Team arrangements have ever been sparse. Their use of samples – which is as eloquent on Rolling Blackouts as ever before too – their collaborations, their two-drummers live situation has always resulted in some powerful, unrelenting tracks. On Rolling Blackouts however, the way in which the band have collaborated and the choices they have made in terms of which outsiders to collaborate with has imbued every part of the album with power, energy and pop charisma.


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