Album Reviews

The Go! Team – Thunder Lightning Strike

(Memphis Industries) UK release date: 13 September 2004

The Go! Team - Thunder Lightning Strike Take one helping of ’70s TV themes. Add in liberal doses of old-skool hip-hop. Throw in some indie guitar pop and arrange for your local cheerleading team to mix it all together with healthy splashings of rap and leave to cook while blowing on a harmonica. When it all appears, you should be left with The Go! Team.

This sextet from Brighton are the sort that music journalists hate to write about as they are pretty much unclassifiable. They have elements of all styles of music yet don’t fit particularly snugly into any one genre. In a couple of years time, you’ll be calling any imitators that may spring up “Go! Team-esque”. If you’re particularly pretentious that is.

Put simply, The Go! Team make music that will put a smile on your face. That exclamation mark is in the middle of their name for a very good reason (apart from to distinguish themselves from the lo-fi ’80s collective) – if ever there was music that deserved a big exclamation mark, it was this.

Thunder Lightning Strike is the sort of album that The Avalanches should have made if they’d concentrated on some more killer tunes rather than disappearing up their own oversampled backside. It’s an album that you can dance round your living room to on your own, liven up a party with, train to in the gym or contemplate life to during the commute to work. It is, quite simply, one of the essential albums of the year.

Opening track Panther Dash gets things off to a frantic start, sounding like the theme to Hawaii 5-0 would sound if it was ever re-recorded by Fatboy Slim. A harmonica drives the song along while all manner of drums are being battered in the background – every so often a vocal consisting simply of “1-2-3-4” appears. It’s just exhilarating.

Feelgood By Numbers is certainly feelgood, being just under two minutes of fresh, funky piano which sounds both impossibly modern and incredibly retro, while Ladyflash employs a great drum riff, clattering drums, a nagging “yeah, yeah yeah yeah” refrain and some incomprehensible lyrics to startling effect.

Some of the best songs on here are where The Go! Team throw everything into the mix and see what comes out. Bottle Rocket is perhaps the best example of this, starting off with a burst of brass before MC Ninja bursts into a breathless rap that doesn’t let up till the end of the song. The cheerleader-style backing vocals are incredibly addictive, as they are on the exuberant Huddle Formation.

There are also more languid moments, such as the blissful closing track of Everybody’s A VIP To Someone, or the uplifting Friendship Update – the sort of song you should start every morning with to guarantee you’ll be in a good mood for the rest of the day. They can even put 38 seconds of an air-raid siren in the middle of the record and it doesn’t sound out of place.

Effortlessly cool and implausibly inventive, Thunder Lightning Strike is that rare thing, an instant classic. Let The Go! Team become the new soundtrack to your lives.

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More on The Go! Team
The Go! Team – Get Up Sequences Part 2
The Go! Team – Semicircle
The Go! Team @ Village Underground, London
Q&A: The Go! Team
The Go! Team @ Academy, Sheffield