The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Review: The Go! Team: Rolling Blackouts

Written by: Pat King, Special to CC2K

I don’t know if ya’ll shop for music at the Amazon MP3 store, but I found out recently that they often deep-discount new albums on Tuesdays, the recording industry’s typical release day. I think they do this to stimulate customer reviews for bands that people might not otherwise listen to. Ultimately, I wouldn’t have bought the Go! Team’s album Rolling Blackouts had it cost much more than the four dollars I paid for it. Which is a shame, because it really is a good album. But that wasn’t readily apparent to me as I listened to the samples. I had to give the album three listens before I really got into the groove of the thing.



The Go! Team is one of those bands that take all their musical influences and try to smoosh them into a unified sound. Though there’s always a chance that something like this will result in a schizophrenic album with nothing to anchor it, the Go! Team performed the amalgamation quite smoothly.

So what do we get? The opening song, “T.O.R.N.A.DO.” sets the tone for the album, with old-school hip-hop drums carrying the rhythm, frenetic horns and record scratching along with rap provided by vocalist Ninja, who is a very sexy woman with thighs of steel. I know that has nothing to do with the music, but it’s nice to think about sometimes.

“Ready to go Steady” sounds like a surf group/girl group combo. If you like that early 60’s vibe, as I do, you’ll dig this song. Even the title sounds like it could be a Ronettes song. Which brings up something else. The Go! Team has created their own version of the Wall of Sound. There’s always plenty going on, lots of sounds to chew on.

“Bust-Out Brigade” is a funky instrumental. It’s as if they pushed Bootsy Collins on stage and forced him to play with a Ska band. “Yosemite Theme” is inspired by Bollywood soundtracks. The funky bass is turned up to about eleven and there’s something that sounds like a brooding harmonica run through a synthesizer that serves as a chorus of sorts. I have no idea how they made this sound. Lead singer Ninja comes in at the end of the song for an upbeat rap outro. Have I mentioned her thighs? I have? This is important stuff.

I’ve been enjoying a lot of these “indie” rock/electronic bands lately, especially MGMT and Crystal Castles. The Go! Team fits loosely into this genre. If you’re into retro rhythms, funky baselines and an upbeat vibe, you’ll probably dig this stuff. Their album was at the right price for me to take a chance, and, you know, I’m pretty glad I did.