The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004/2005)

12.13.2009

File:Thunder, Lightning, Strike.jpg
People of my age and graduating class are among the last people who can (quasi-)legitimately wear those t-shirts from Hot Topic that say ‘Product of the ’80s’  with Flying V’s and sequins and other such garish, retro-fashionable items on them. However, being born in 1989, I, like they, were not really self-aware in the decade in question, and therefore any nostalgic association and identification we have with the era is likely either the result of bleedthrough into the early ’90s or just entirely fabricated. That said, I still feel a warm and fuzzy recollection of a time that never really was when I listen to albums like Saturdays=Youth, or Thunder, Lightning, Strike.

The Go! Team isn’t really the John Hughes throwback music that sentence construction suggests it to be, though. Pitchfork and other reviewers have described it as a pastiche-homage of-to 80’s action TV show theme songs, but I would just call it magical nostalgia collage rock. Built equally on samples and live instrumentation, Thunder, Lightning, Strike somehow makes the dorkiest arrangements ever sound cool as shit. Somehow, harmonica plus horn section plus synthesized strings plus banjo plus not one but TWO drumsets mix together to paint an image of a simpler time you’re not sure you ever really had, but a yearning for all the same.

The action show theme song comparison is probably most apt on early tracks such as Panther Dash and Ladyflash, as you could easily picture yourself driving around a sick-ass muscle car with a heinous-looking bandana wrapped around your head as you jam out to these songs. Inexplicably, it feels cool when this band does it. Once central member Ian Parton starts dropping proto-hip-hop and schoolyard girl chant samples on top of his constructions, you begin to wonder why the hell it all sounds so cool.

However, the real strength of this album lies at its end. Thunder, Lightning, Strike has probably one of the best set of closing tracks I can think of on an album. ‘Friendship Update’ was the first song from the album I’d heard, and my roommate and I sat on the couch listening to it and thinking to ourselves ‘is this real?’ The version of the album I’m writing about is the 2005 reissue, which features in my opinion the crucial ‘Hold Yr Terror Close’, a song absolutely unlike anything else on the CD. It’s one of the only songs on the album with lyrics, and certainly the only with lyrics that aren’t part of a sampled vocal track. The rickety old piano shuffle that drives the song sounds as slightly out of tune as the young girl’s voice does, but the two together somehow create this unplaceable feeling of honesty, depth and emotion that was the absolute last thing I expected to hear on this album. The closing two tracks lay the instrumentation on thickly once again, closing out the album with ‘Everyone’s a V.I.P. to Someone’, the strange-but-wonderful fusion of banjo, harmonica, strings, trumpet and two drumsets that I referenced earlier. Simply put, the music of Thunder, Lightning, Strike sounds like coming home.

Buy

Standout tracks: “Friendship Update”, “Hold Yr Terror Close”, “Huddle Formation”

– Julian

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3 Responses to “The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004/2005)”

  1. Twee Says:

    The Go! Team are such a great band. I really enjoyed reading your description of them 🙂

    Also, I figure this is as good a place as any to ask, so would you like to add each other to our blogrolls? I’ve been enjoying this blog for quite a while. Cheers!

  2. thirdsecond Says:

    why thank you.
    also that sounds cool; you should ask brian b. as he’s the dude in charge of all of the formative and managerial thangs of this blog

  3. Brian Says:

    i got you, mr twee watch the tapes dude friend. added!


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