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Big Beat, meet Big Bird

The Go! Team's “Thunder, Lightning, Strike” is exactly the electric jolt one needs to get your head-bobbing, smile-stretching, Caterpillar-inducing muscles to pop-and-lock those winter doldrums right  off.
/ Source: contributor

It wasn’t too long ago (ok, it was three weeks ago) when I groused about how sad songs have been saying so much to me lately. It seemed appropriate to revel in some kind of blue during the winter doldrums, at least for a while. And with 20 or 30 more sad records probably being released just as I’m writing this, why not welcome back spring with an upbeat little number from the far reaches of balmy Brighton, England?

The name says it all: “The Go! Team” And popping their debut record “Thunder, Lightning, Strike” into the hi-fi is exactly the electric jolt you need to get your head-bobbing, smile-stretching, Caterpillar-inducing muscles to pop-and-lock that frost right off.

If you’ve ever spent more than 30 seconds in front of a television at any point after the Carter administration, you’ll feel right at home in the folds of the Go! Team’s ebullient instrumental pep rally.

“Thunder, Lightning, Strike” evokes candy-colored memories of Saturday morning Froot Loops and blaxploitation action sequences, mashing up rough-hewn live instrumentation with ’70s-ish samples. The opening thrum of “Junior Kickstart” will make you want to slide thigh-first across the hood of the nearest El Camino.

But even with the nostalgic tint, guitarist Ian Parton and team lay down a kaleidoscopic collision of styles ( “Collidoscopic” should be the next Go! Team album, Ian) that bend the traditional “indie band” aesthetic into something more sophisticated, organic and far more fun.

Their kitchen-sink approach manages to throw in everything else in the room, leftovers included. The clappy schoolyard vibe on “The Power Is On” splices dub, staccato brass and wicked wakka-wakka guitar into a delirious would-be theme song. "Friendship Update" hauls out Schroeder's "Peanuts" piano for a strut in the park with The Cure. And dig the tumbleweed harmonica nestled into the album opener "Panther Dash." Beck is so jealous right now.

It matters little that “lead singer” Ninja’s old-school rap vocals are barely comprehensible, or that there aren't really any strict verse-chorus-verse happenings here. Every devilish double-dutch chant and child-like sample adds yet another layer of bombast to an already outrageous package.

Go get this record. Now. It will make your Froot Loops taste better.

For more Go! Team goodness, visit their website at