For first time listeners of England’s The Go! Team, the experience of delving in to their newest album Rolling Blackouts can be best compared to exploring a world where everything is taken up a fun and exciting notch. The tempo is fast, the vocals are high, and the over the top exuberance in every pulsing beat leaves you wondering why more bands do not pull a Go! Team and turn their amps all the way up to 11.
Rolling Blackouts is an album that secretes frantic energy out of every beat and chorus, occasionally stopping to drop a melodic number in order to add some depth and spontaneity to the album. However, the band never strays too far from its barrage approach to delivering track after track of insanely upbeat tunes.
This is where The Go! Team will shun many casual fans and first time listeners. The raw energy is often too much to handle, and the best tracks on the album end up being the songs where it is apparent the band is not trying so hard. Songs like “Yosemite” and “Buy Nothing Day” are a breath of fresh air in an album that moves so fast you do not even have time to enjoy it before it’s over. These are the songs that have real heart and show the listener that the group has potential to grow into something more than a dance or club favourite.
We may, however, never get to experience The Go! Team in a more mature state, as the man who has been the driving force behind The Go! Team, principle songwriter Ian Parton, has noted that in all likelihood this will be the group’s last album together.
Album highlights include the track “T.O.R.N.A.D.O,” which combines just the right amount of unabashedly upbeat bravado to make you want to go out dancing for two weeks, still having energy to spare at the conclusion. With “T.O.R.N.A.D.O” The Go! Team has discovered the perfect ingredients for the high tempo, energetic sound that the band has become known for. The problem with other tracks on the album is the lean too much in either direction. Several of the songs are too fast paced for anyone but the most diehard fans to take seriously, while some of the more easy going tracks will no doubt be shunned by hardcore listeners looking for their quick rhythm fix. The middle ground between shrieking Japanese school girl and sleep inducing monotony is where true Go! Team gold is held.
While The Go! Team would not be my first choice for an easy listening afternoon, for a no-holds-barred fist pumping dance party I would no doubt consult the gospel of the Go! Team for a good time.