Review for The Go! Team’s ‘Rolling Blackouts’

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The Go! Team, courtesy of Memphis Industries

By Andrew Lopez

The biggest problem with how The Go! Team approaches music is also their greatest strength. The English six-piece does not conform to just one or two genres. Instead, they make it a point to blend as much culture and sound into every song they can.

While that sounds impressive, there’s a drawback to this chaotic method of music making. Amidst the intensity of blaring horns and the cheerful melodies of guitars and synthesizers, it’s sometimes hard to figure out the direction or theme of their songs. Undoubtedly though, if you are looking for something different from what you hear on the radio everyday or you’re simply looking for music as a pick-me-up, their latest album “Rolling Blackouts,” has something to offer every listener.

The album opener, “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.” sets a high bar for intensity, grooving with various percussions while horns roar. Ninja, the group’s female rapper, rhymes underneath layers of instrumentation, letting every noisy idea be heard. If ever there was a song that demands your attention by exhibiting endless bravado, this is it.

What makes The Go! Team such an interesting group to listen to, is their reluctance to stick to one genre for any length of time. “Buy Nothing Day” is a high energy, extremely accessible pop gem. The shining melodies of the guitar punctuate the feel-good vibe the band gives off with each song. It’s in the subtleties as well, as the rhythm section and various percussion drive the track forward with confidence.

“Back Like 8 Track” brings the album to its end, this time blending elements of the two aforementioned songs. Melodic guitar hooks duel with triumphant horns and turntable scratching. Ninja is once again rapping, but this time shares as other members chant alongside her during the chorus. It would be a stretch calling it a hip-hop song; it would be a stretch calling it a rock song; it wouldn’t be a stretch calling it all of the above, and then some. It’s certainly hard to wrap your head around, but when you do, it’s easy to enjoy “Rolling Blackouts” in all its confusing glory.

With 13 tracks clocking in at just 41 minutes, “Rolling Blackouts” breezes by. With all the ideas going on, The Go! Team manages to never seem pretentious about how much they can do musically;. Rather, the album sounds like a group of musicians celebrating the only way they know how. No instrument outweighs another in importance, and although this can cause songs to sound a bit muddled, it’s what also keeps The Go! Team from sounding like any band you’ve heard before.

3 out of 5 stars