With Rolling Blackouts, their third album, the Go! Team have stuck to the formula that has worked for them so far: chants, big beats and trumpety interludes. It’d be easy to say that this failure to move forwards makes for a pretty tedious listen, but in fact, this album is very enjoyable – if you like the afore-mentioned combination of sounds.
As with Thunder, Lightning, Strike!, the playground-style chants are interspersed with sweeter moments: Secretary Song and Ready to go Steady are pure saccharine pop. Even here, though, the Go! Team maintain their distinctively quirky sound, with glockenspiel and brass clashing beautifully. Who says every album should be different, anyway?
Having said that, there are some subtle steps forward: this album has a slicker sound, with more – dare I actually use this word – bombastic beats. Opener T.O.R.N.A.D.O. sees Ninja trying her hand at some tough rap and both Apollo Throwdown and Bust-Out Brigade begin with big, slick, polished blasts of noise.
Lyrically, again it’s more of the same: much of it is indistinguishable, but the bits you can catch tend to be fairly simple and self-congratulatory – the Go! Team haven’t been compared to cheerleaders for nothing. For example: “Use the voice/you made the choice/I’m shaking up the underground/’Cause I’m willing and able to break it down” (Voice Yr Choice)
If you like your pop short and snappy – both in length (the longest song on the album is just four minutes – hardly a musical marathon) and style, you will love this album. It’d be a cold heart indeed that wasn’t won over by the overlapping melodies and cute charm: as an introduction to the Go! Team, it works perfectly. Unfortunately, most of us have already heard the first two albums, and while more of the same is welcome, it’s not enormously interesting or necessary.
Originally published in The Student.