album reviews

The Go! Team
Thunder, Lightning, Strike
Columbia/Memphis Industries (2005)

Although punctuation in a band name is rarely necessary, the jubilant sounds of England's The Go! Team almost wouldn't make sense without that name-interrupting exclamation point. The group's feel-good energy never rests throughout its debut album, "Thunder, Lightning, Strike," which was originally released in the United Kingdom in 2004 and issued in the United States last year.

Given the band's name and peppy sound, comparisons to cheerleaders at a high school football game seem inevitable. The Team does little to diffuse such analogies, with such song titles as "Huddle Formation" and "We Just Won't Be Defeated" and joyous chants of "Two! Four! Six! Eight! Ten!" on "Bottle Rocket." But the Go! Team is less haphazard than its rah-rah bounciness implies. Guitarist/band leader Ian Parton handpicked the six-member group (including a female rapper named Ninja). In addition, samples embedded in the songs add a surprising texture to their sound, from snippets of "Come See About Me" (on "Ladyflash") to elements from the Clash documentary "Westway to the World" (on "The Power Is On").

Even with such attentive thought behind its music, the Go! Team remains eternally carefree. With the scratching of a turntable leading the rowdy conclusion of "Get It Together" and the soulful horns of "Junior Kickstart," the group's breezy sound shows that lightheartedness is no trivial pursuit.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 17 March 2006, Page WE10
.: Thunder, Lightning, Strike on