Ian Parton loves to fuck shit up. The Go! Team founder even mastered the band’s third album, Rolling Blackouts, straight to C90 cassette to ensure it retained their signature screwed-up sound. Like listening to the last five decades of popular music through a broken transistor radio, the album is a woozy, schizoid mash-up of genres jumping from hip-hop to bubblegum pop to shoegaze and beyond. Opening with the thunderous “T.O.R.N.A.D.O,” it’s the greatest mixtape you’ve never heard, a golden nugget of sunkissed trash-pop.
Four years on from the release of their sophomore album, Proof Of Youth (Memphis Industries, 2007), The Go! Team are back. Reigning in the kitchen sink production dominating their earlier work, Rolling Blackouts is leaner and poppier, emphasizing Parton’s ear for a good hook. It also emphasizes his ear for vocals. In snapping up Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino to take the lead on “Buy Nothing Day” months before the hyperbole erupted around her band, Parton revealed an extraordinary grasp of global pop trends.
Like The Go! Team’s earlier releases, this album’s at its best when Parton mashes up diverse genres. The sublime “Secretary Song” juxtaposes an effortlessly catchy indie-pop hook with a pounding backing track driven by crashing cymbals, bells, and fuzz guitars, while immaculately-titled “Apollo Throwdown” sounds like The Furious Five jamming an alphabet song with Sesame Street‘s Elmo. For the most part, Rolling Blackouts is a breakneck ride though Parton’s impeccable record collection. Inspired by low-down New Orleans funk (“Bust-Out Brigade”), 1970s Hollywood soundtracks (“Yosemite Theme”), pre-Beatles pop (“Ready to Go Steady”), and country-rock (“The Running Range”), it’s a richly detailed collection of good-time party tracks.
“Buy Nothing Day,” though, stands out as the album’s highlight. With a chorus borrowing heavily from The Bangles, Cosentino’s Susanna Hoffs-infused vocal drips like honey over jingle-jangle guitars and a bass-line that could’ve been lifted straight from “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Arguably The Go! Team’s finest track to date, it’s the perfect centerpiece for an album witnessing the band’s evolution far beyond the block-rocking samplists of Thunder, Lightning, Strike (Memphis Industries, 2004).
Unlike most other cut-and-paste outfits that run out of ideas after their first album, there’s plenty more left in The Go! Team. In Parton they have an incredibly talented producer, unafraid of mixing up genres, styles and techniques. Retaining the anything goes ethic of the bedroom hobby which birthed the band, Rolling Blackouts is a wide-eyed homage to the genius of throwaway pop culture.Visit: The Go! Team | Memphis Industries
Purchase: Insound | eMusic