15 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Proof of Youth surprised all those who thought this English group’s debut, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, was both an anomaly and a one-trick pony. While the songs here once again dig deep into pop culture’s pockets (‘70s urban funk, airy ‘60s pop, swaggering “lady MC” and hip-hop flourishes, clanging indie rock guitars, and double Dutch and cheerleading shout-alongs), founder Ian Parton has traded in some of the heavy sampling for live instruments and vocals, resulting in a fuller, more “live” and, frankly, more sophisticated sound. When you’ve worked up a sweat from opener “Grip Like a Vice” (featuring lead vocalist Ninja’s staccato girl-power rap) and the shamelessly youthful, exuberant “Doing It Right,” “My World” offers two minutes of gentle acoustic guitars and warm Casio tones to catch your breath by. Once recharged, your inner Energizer bunny can keep hopping to the roaring “Titanic Vandalism,” or shift into an indie-pop shimmy on “Fake ID.” With smart pacing and interesting textures, even the criminally hooky “Keys to the City,” the bubbly “I Never Needed It Now So Much” (featuring Solex on vocals), and the dark energy of “Flashlight Fight” (featuring Public Enemy’s Chuck D) won’t leave you in a deflated, collapsed heap on the floor. It will just leave you smiling.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Proof of Youth surprised all those who thought this English group’s debut, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, was both an anomaly and a one-trick pony. While the songs here once again dig deep into pop culture’s pockets (‘70s urban funk, airy ‘60s pop, swaggering “lady MC” and hip-hop flourishes, clanging indie rock guitars, and double Dutch and cheerleading shout-alongs), founder Ian Parton has traded in some of the heavy sampling for live instruments and vocals, resulting in a fuller, more “live” and, frankly, more sophisticated sound. When you’ve worked up a sweat from opener “Grip Like a Vice” (featuring lead vocalist Ninja’s staccato girl-power rap) and the shamelessly youthful, exuberant “Doing It Right,” “My World” offers two minutes of gentle acoustic guitars and warm Casio tones to catch your breath by. Once recharged, your inner Energizer bunny can keep hopping to the roaring “Titanic Vandalism,” or shift into an indie-pop shimmy on “Fake ID.” With smart pacing and interesting textures, even the criminally hooky “Keys to the City,” the bubbly “I Never Needed It Now So Much” (featuring Solex on vocals), and the dark energy of “Flashlight Fight” (featuring Public Enemy’s Chuck D) won’t leave you in a deflated, collapsed heap on the floor. It will just leave you smiling.

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About The Go! Team

The sound of the Go! Team, a six-piece group from Brighton, England, is a stunning blend of indie rock guitars, police show themes, hip-hop beats, and schoolyard chants built on samples and then augmented by live instrumentation. The founder and leader of the Team is Ian Parton, who provides guitar and sculpts their sound. The rest of the group includes Sam Dook on guitar, banjo, and drums; Chi "Ky" Fukami Taylor on drums; Jaime Bell on bass; Ninja on vocals; and Kaori Tsuchida on drums, guitar, keyboards, and melodica.

Their first release, 2000's Get It Together, was primarily a solo effort by Parton that gained support from John Peel and others, but legal problems prevented a timely follow-up. By the time of 2003's Junior Kickstart single, the group had been assembled (and included Silke Steidinger, who left in the fall of 2005) and signed to Memphis Industries. Thunder, Lightning, Strike was released in 2004 and quickly became a sensation in the U.K., where it was nominated for the Mercury Prize, and in the U.S., where the band became an MP3 blog darling. A bidding war ensued in the U.S., with Columbia winning, but before the album could gain release, many of the samples had to be replaced (which didn't affect the quality of the record at all). The group followed up the album with two U.K. singles, 2005's Bottle Rocket and 2006's Ladyflash, and extensive world touring.

While Thunder, Lightning, Strike was an artistic success, it didn't sell the way Columbia would have liked and the band found itself label-less in America. Sub Pop soon picked them up and (with Memphis Industries) released Proof of Youth in 2007. After a long break, the group returned in early 2011 with its third album. Rolling Blackouts had the same core group as previous records and featured guest appearances by Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki and Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast. After another long break, during which Parton called a band meeting and basically fired the whole group, the fourth Go! Team album, The Scene Between, was released in early 2015. With Parton calling all the shots musically and a different singer on each track, the album was both a return to their early way of working and a step in a new direction. ~ Tim Sendra

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