Go! Team’s album has thunderous lightning strike twice

Ben Breier


The Go! Team

Album Thunder, Lightning, Strike

Released by Columbia Records

Stater rating (out of four): ****

When The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike dropped in the UK during the latter half of 2004, it was unquestionably the best record to come out that year. The Go! Team managed to craft a memorable indie-pop record, using brash and innovative techniques ensnared within superhero-style anthems.

Fast forward to almost a year later, and Thunder, Lightning, Strike has finally come out in the states. Due to licensing issues, some of the samples the band used in its music had to either be changed or edited out completely. Despite the fact that some of these tracks remain unscathed, a couple of these songs have been put through the ringer.

Take “Junior Kickstart,” for example. The song typically opens up with a bevy of horns, the majority of which are simply dropped from the domestic version. It’s an example of lazy production – rather than filling the void left by the removed samples, the song comes off feeling incomplete.

“Bottle Rocket” managed to get mangled in a similar fashion. The horn section was altered heavily here as well, creating a staccato effect in the introduction rather than a continuous stream of brass. It makes the entire song feel uncomfortable, but to be fair, those who aren’t familiar with the import version are going to be naA_ve to these changes.

However, the majority of the album is left intact. On “The Power Is On,” lead singer Ninja’s raps will send chills down your spine. Ninja’s vocals sound like a cheerleader at a political rally; it’s a strange hybrid of peppiness accompanied by a sense of urgency that nobody in music can match today.

Other highlights on the record include “Get It Together,” a mostly lyricless ditty that successfully implements the rarely used recorder, which you probably haven’t heard since you were in the middle of elementary school. The US version of Thunder, Lightning, Strike also includes a couple of new tracks from Are You Ready For More?, an EP that was only released in Australia. “We Just Won’t Be Defeated” is easily the best of the new tracks – an insanely busy track with multiple drumlines on top of piano, brass and powerful vocals. When Ninja screams the song’s namesake, you’ll understand that this band truly “won’t be defeated.”

Thunder, Lightning, Strike is one of the best albums to come out in a very long time. It manages to be electric, eclectic and surprisingly accessible for those looking to get into the genre. I recommend it without hesitation.

Contact ALL correspondent Ben Breier at [email protected].