The Go! Team
Thunder Lghtning Strike

By Ed Chamberlin

 
The Go! Team have already made an impression this year with the release of The Power Is On, the lead off single from this album. Over three minutes, the brazen use of superhero fanfares, cheerleader cries, Bollywood strings, pounding drums and rolling pianos resulted in something startlingly original and exhilarating. It sounded like the band had spontaneously given birth to a new genre. That one song excited the imagination so much that hearing an entire LP's worth of similar ideas is a droolingly delicious prospect.

Well, Thunder Lightning Strike doesn't disappoint. In fact the sugar content is even higher than it was on the EP. From the opening musical spasm that is Panther Dash, it is clear that The Go! Team haven't chilled out one bit.

The tempo remains at the same sprightly pace throughout, with the more dramatic moments marked simply by more distorted drums. What is impressive is how many seemingly incompatible styles can be mashing into their musical template and come out better and more beautiful than ever. Ladyflash begins with a vaguely Eastern sounding motif, before the clattering drums joins in and swooning strings add a bit of emotion to proceedings. From there it all goes mental, small kids bob their heads and sing playground songs, a sweet soul singer sings on the verge of tears, a substitute Sugarhill Gang on helium bigs her up, before the whole thing spontaneously transforms into a cheesy 80s synth-pop tune. The song is so bursting with ideas, it threatens to buckle under the weight, but instead sounds like a musical photo story of your life and is somehow very moving.

Get it together screams along on guitar harmonics and wheezing beats, before going all Jackson 5 on your ass, with a hint of bluegrass. Junior Kickstart explores the superhero cartoon theme tune avenue touched on with The Power Is On, while bottle rocket takes old-school rhymes, soulful horns and funky bass and creates something so ecstatic, you feel the performers' hearts are all on the verge of exploding. The sweetly entitled closer Everyone's a VIP to Someone is the most overtly emotional of all the tracks, with its melancholy, downhome banjo plucking, swooning strings and melodic erm, well, I think it's a kazoo. Nevertheless, for the first time in the album, The Go! Team show some restraint and withhold the crashing drums for the exact moment it will have the biggest impact, and it almost knocks you out of your seat. Although it is the end of the album, it is doubtful that it will be more than five minutes before Panther Dash is playing again.

Showing a complete lack of subtlety, The Go! Team have managed to tap into the intoxicating, unselfconscious glee you most likely lost when you turned from a wide-eyed child into a surly teenager. It's loud, colourful, funny, beautiful and will make your life infinitely better. It's hard to say if this will penetrate the dismissive ears of the modern listener long enough to be anything other than an underground concern, but wherever this is playing there will be someone with a stupid grin on their face.
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