The Go! Team
Although it's only available right now as a slightly overprice import release, you should drop whatever you're doing and hunt down Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team just as soon as you can. I'll admit that I'm one to be as cynical as anyone (especially these days) and that I tend to like my music more on the melancholy side of things for the most part, but this debut release from the UK boys and girls sextet has got hooting and hollering along with it. Part cheerleading routine, part Jackson Five, part guitar-fuzz, and part hip-hop mashup, it's comes at you fast and furious and blows out your ears in 10 tracks and just over a half-hour running length.
One of the best things about the group is that they for the most part play all their instrumentation rather than sample it. Upon first hearing this release, I thought the release was a crossfader smashing excursion into ripped samples and overdubs, but after seeing short clips of the group rip it up live with instrumentation (and a bit of sampling), I'm fully convinced (not that I would have been any less impressed had they done it the other way around). The album wastes no time getting rolling, as the opener of "Panther Dash" busts out of the gate with a 70s TV theme-show drum rumpus as a harmonica and guitar team up for a good natured showdown.
From there, the listener is hardly able to catch a breath as "Ladyflash" again busts loose with weird vocals and flutes that almost sound like Bollywood (chants of "We're here to rock the microphone" included) while "Junior Kickstart" sounds like a hyper-saturated theme containing bits from every cool car-chase sequence or Warriors-style throwdown lead-in done in the past 20 years. It doesn't really matter that half the time you can't make out the lyrics and the other half they're simply chants to "rock" or countdowns to bring that beat back because the group flys by the seats of their pants with such reckless abandon that it's hard not to get caught up by it all.
So yes, the group might be fluffy, and while they call to mind all the references mentioned above and then some, they do it in a way that makes it all sound fresh and fun again. Hearing Thunder, Lightning, Strike for the first time will probably give you sorta the same feeling you had when you first heard When I Left You by The Avalanches. You know you've heard the parts before, but you've never quite heard them put together in a way that the group has done it, and for that they put a grin on your face and a little bit of shuffle in your step. Easily one of the most fun releases of the year. If this thing ever gets better distribution, all Top 40 pop tartlets best watch their backs, because I have a feeling The Go! Team knows ninja moves.