Thursday, October 04, 2007

Proof of Youth by The Go! Team

Man, I love that exclamation mark. Everything that was so totally ace about The Go! Team's debut, Thunder, Lightning, Strike! was encapsulated in that one modestly (yet audaciously) positioned piece of punctuation. Vibrant, modern, bold and catchy as all fuck, the Team combined samples, cheerleading rhythms, primary school chants and a genuine pop music sensibility, it sounded like FatBoy Slim had about 6 love children with George Michael. And it was ace. So naturally, the release of Proof of Youth was greeted with joyous cheers at MAtR.

Opening track "Grip Like a Vice" didn't disappoint, so long as one was looking for much the same as the found on the debut. And therein lies the problem with Proof of Youth. It's one thing to stick to a winning formula: Maximo Park proved it earlier this year with Our Earthly Pleasures, which didn't diverge far from 2005's A Certain Trigger, but maintained a sense of vibrancy and was still chock-full of hooks to be worthwhile. Just nice and safe. It's another thing however, to release what is essentially a record which sounds like a collection of tracks that missed the cut the first time around and then received the full treatment. The full treatment, in this case, being another session in ne band member's bedroom or another.

It's not that Proof of Youth is bad - it isn't - but it's just the same again, just no really as good. Each song is solid, there really aren't any bad tracks, it's just that there aren't really any good ones. Where is the killer cop-show horn section from "Junior Kickstart" or the ultra catchy chanting of "Bottle Rocket"? They certainly aren't here.

Fear not, fans of The Go! Team, they'll come back strong. They're clearly too good to remain mediocre for too long, but this record is clearly a case of sophomore blues.

2 1/2 stars


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