A step in the right directionThe Go! Team - Thunder, Lightening, Strike
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Feb. 3, 2006
Review by Andy ArgyrakisThe idea of a basement band or garage rockers has been tested, tried and re-tooled countlessly throughout the years, especially within the last five to a near nauseating degree. Yet The Go! Team puts is own individualistic stamp on this pattern, seeking out a series of dance beats, soulful flourishes and bombastic realism that benefits from a lack of studio tinkering and minimal marketing. Its Thunder, Lightening Strike CD was actually wrapped up come 2004 via Memphis Industries Limited, but after scoring some buzz and proving to be an electrifying live experience, Columbia Records came calling. And while it remains to be seen if the group will reach a wider audience as a result, there's still a solid chuck of material worthy of that public spectrum, if only for its sheer organics and risk taking randomness.
The disc's second track "Ladyflash" has the term spontaneous painted all over it, starting out with some muddy bass beats and distorted drums, but unfolding with urban arrangements and breakbeats one could only pick off a peddlers' mix tape in New York's 80s club scene. But no sooner does one develop into a dance groove than The Go! Team turns towards the jazzy underworld come "Feelgood By Numbers," followed by the cacophonic struts throughout "The Power Is On." "Junior Kickstart" comes across with a tongue and cheek flavor, one moment sounding like a cheesy television show theme song from the 70s and then exploding with brass and harmonica stacked insurgency. Such irreverence also carries into "Bottle Rocket," which could appeal on one hand to rap lovers a la Beastie Boys, while simultaneously tipping its hat at Philly Soul. And though it's unfathomable to think this would be followed a few songs later by the Sonic Youth leaned "Huddle Formation," complete with raucous guitar thrusts and an unpolished appeal, it also connects like a bullet to a target.
Even with all these leaps and bounds above the average, The Go! Team may experience a snag with more conventional music fans hoping for their influences to be reigned in and not as sporadically intertwined. In this sense, some listeners may interpret the disc as cluttered and unfocused, though even in their dismayed state, will still hopefully gravitate towards the gustiness. While Thunder, Lighting, Strike may not be for everybody, it's a step in the right direction for that somebody tired of the same old drills repeated time and time again.
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