The Go! Team Bestows Rolling Blackouts, Bids Adieu

For the last decade, the UK pop-hop collective has brilliantly (re)defined postmodern music. Too bad they might call it quits after releasing their kickass new album Rolling Blackouts. I talked with Team leader Ian Parton about Blackouts and bow outs for Wired.

Go Team’s Kitchen-Sink Sonics Fuel Rolling Blackouts

The Go Team’s ongoing dissection of postmillennial sonic overload skews sweet and surreal on Rolling Blackouts, the U.K. pop-hop collective’s addictive third — and possibly final — record.

Few bands have captured the anxiety-riddled breadth of modern musical influences with such energy, thanks to Go Team leader Ian Parton’s sprawling tastes and persistent desire to create music that stands apart from the overly derivative herd.

“Rolling Blackouts spans Morricone-esque gospel, street-corner psych-hop, country groove, phonics workshop interludes, noisy guitars and wall-of-sound girl groups, but I think it all sounds like The Go Team rather than 13 different groups,” Parton (rocking the red stripes above) told in an e-mail interview.

“I’m always pulled in different musical directions, and my favorite music changes each day. I like slamming different stuff together, but it’s a balancing act.”

Parton’s crew has been walking that musical tightrope for a decade. The Go Team’s aptly named debut, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, exploded at the turn of the century, mashing siren guitars, Black Panther chants, Peanuts piano, banjo jazz and impassioned freestyle rhymes from female emcee Ninja (holding the “GO” above) into an intoxicating mind-meld. Hooky 2007 follow-up Proof of Youth merged Public Enemy’s incendiary Chuck D, Brazilian funk and electropop into its genre melt.

Rolling Blackouts, out Tuesday from Memphis Industries, mixes pocket symphonies, shoegaze fuzz and outer-limits indie-hop to form a record that’s as ambitious as both prior efforts, although its high-octane mélange is decked out with more-conventional songwriting. Parton said he consciously eased up on the sonic throttle this time around.

“This album’s definitely driven more by songwriting, and features more singing rather than the Double Dutch chants people know us for,” he said. “I wanted to make strange little pop songs. I’ve always been really into catchy melody, because it’s the hardest thing to do.”

Sadly Parton said he might put The Go Team out to pasture after Rolling Blackouts and the engaging sextet’s upcoming U.S. tour, starting April 13 in Washington, D.C., and wrapping April 20 in San Francisco.

“This may be the last Go Team record,” he said.