Copyright ©2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

With a love of sports cheers, car chase music, and hip-hop, Britain's The Go! Team is a band that revels in unabashedly upbeat music. The group started as one guy putting songs together at home, and has transformed itself into a band of six-plus. Critic Robert Christgau says the band is getting stronger and stronger.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU: The Go! Team are the brainchild of Ian Parton of Brighton, England. Parton was a young documentary filmmaker with a specialty in archaeology who, long ago, began creating songs on a sampler in his folks' kitchen. Given the way these songs recycle sonic artifacts and musical cultures, they are almost archaeological documentaries themselves with some dirt on them.

(Soundbite of song "Grip Like a Vice")

CHRISTGAU: That was "Grip like a Vice," the lead track of The Go! Team's new album, "Proof of Youth." Lisa Lee and Sharrock are the virtual guest vocalists, and not just any virtual guest vocalists, they're legendary one-cameo wonders from landmark 1980 records by Afrika Bambaataa and the Funky Four Plus One.

Now, miraculously, Parton has fashioned the perfect music for rhymes they freestyled in a 1984 BBC documentary. Thus, he becomes one of the few to actually revive the innocence of early hip-hop, rather than stiffly imitate it like so many underground rappers. Yet, directly before the passage I just played, the same track sounds like this.

(Soundbite of song "Grip Like a Vice")

CHRISTGAU: Noisy guitars morphing into atonal guitars, not exactly early hip-hop, just two more sounds that Ian Parton loves and folds in. Though he has Public Enemy's Chuck D rap live toward the climax, Parton goes for female voices. Elizabeth Esselink, sole proprietor of the Dutch electro band Solex, has never sounded so girl-group. And believe me, she's tried.

(Soundbite of song "Grip Like a Vice")

CHRISTGAU: Another sound Ian Parton likes is horns. These were sampled on the 2004 debut album "Thunder, Lightning, Strike." But when the debut became a hit, Parton needed a human group to tour, and so he hired human horn players. And on the second album they do their thing. Here's the "Wrath of Marci" featuring three indigenous Go! Team brass guys and two indigenous Go! Team vocal gals.

(Soundbite of the "Wrath of Marcie")

CHRISTGAU: The Go! Team's first album made the silly myth about lo-fi sound conveying truth and beauty come true, only now he's created a very similar album in the studio. It's hardly clean-sounding. Parton loves to jam things together. But it's got volume and presence twice as strong sonically with no loss of ebullience or directness. It's positive without corn, which is pop music's main reason for being.

BLOCK: The CD by Go! Team is called "Proof of Youth." Our reviewer, Robert Christgau is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. You can hear songs from the CD and discover more new music at npr.org/music.

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: