The Go! Team Thunder, Lightning, Strike

[Memphis Industries; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: hopscotch jam
Others: ’70s TV and movie scores, the Supremes, the Flaming Lips

The Go! Team is a Brighton, UK six-piece who play trebly, awesome hopscotch jams. Their debut long-player Thunder, Lightning, Strike is a showcase of their sparkling, jubilant tunes, featuring '70s Sesame Street playground sing-a-longs like "The Power is On" and "Get it Together," alongside a couple of more sedate piano-driven head bobbers like "Feel Good By Numbers." Although by the record's second half the brassy, treble-kicked sound wears a little thin ("Friendship Update" in particular is a real bore), there are enough gems to keep the release fresh through the end of its 35 minutes. "Huddle Formation" has the same kind of synthesized saccharine melody as the Flaming Lips' "Race for the Prize," and the album-ending "Everyone's a V.I.P. to Someone" is a frighteningly accurate original take on Shaft or perhaps CHiPS end-credits music.

But I've saved the best for last: smack-dab in the middle of Thunder, Lightning, Strike is its standout track, "Junior Kickstart." Cleaner, faster, and more driving then the rest of the album put together, the Go! Team dump everything they've got into the instrumental song; and that's saying a lot, considering the album's got female rapping, walls-of-sound summoned whenever needed, and a library of synthesizers, just to catalog a few. A truly triumphant horn section and exhilarating live drumming carry the tune, which could score anything from a way-too-hip retro cop show to a badass car chase. If the Go! Team are to be criticized for repeating themselves on this disc, I've gotta give them credit for spirit and freshness -- who else is doing shit like this?

1. Panther Dash
2. Ladyflash
3. Feel Good by Numbers
4. The Power is On
5. Get it Together
6. Junior Kickstart
7. Air Raid GTR
8. Bottle Rocket
9. Friendship Update
10. Huddle Formation
11. Everyone's a VIP to Someone

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