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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Album review: The Go! Team, "Rolling Blackouts"

By David Malitz

the go teamThe Go! Team: Coming to a commercial near you?

It turns out, The Go! Team was ahead of its time. Not in some Velvet Underground or Afrika Bambaataa way. Quite the opposite, in fact. First heard on 2004's surprise hit "Thunder, Lightning, Strike," the U.K. group's hyperactive, technicolor melange of pop, hip-hop, funk and rock predicted music's utilitarian future, not to mention the dawn of Energy Drink Nation. On the band's third album, it's more of the same short-attention-span, overcaffeinated, sample-happy pop that begs for a product tie-in.

A music licensing executive dreams of an album such as "Rolling Blackouts" the same way a baseball general manager dreams of having the first draft pick when Stephen Strasburg is available. Lead track "T.O.R.N.A.D.O." is a two-minute, brass-infused blast of big beats and vocalist Ninja's rapid-fire rapping. As she spits out the letters of the title, it's easy to envision an ad campaign for Red Bull's newest competitor centered on this song.


"Apollo Throwdown" is less speedy but just as energetic, built on a chorus of cascading, cheerleader-like group vocals. "Super Triangle" is a rare moment when the barrage of sound relents, with a brief interlude of floaty, loungey synths. It's the kind of song that could peacefully linger in the background for hours.

Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino sings on the more traditionally guitar-centric "Buy Nothing Day," sounding less raspy and more glossy than ever. "Secretary Song" features Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki offering some sugary vocals, with the parade of guests only adding to the album's schizophrenic feel. Even these highlights tend to grate after a few minutes, but no matter - you'll likely only hear them in 30-second snippets anyway.

Recommended tracks: "Buy Nothing Day," "Secretary Song"

By David Malitz  | February 1, 2011; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags:  The Go! Team  
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