Go! Team mastermind Ian Parton recently described Rolling Blackouts as ‘all over the shop’, which is quite something from a guy who seems to have a very fixed idea of atmosphere and almost no rules for how to create it. Though known for their cheerleader chants, squalling guitars and ruthlessly low-fi approach to sample-based good times, The Go! Team here bring in a whole new element; harmony. Though not a huge deviation from the unhinged raucousness of the still-brilliant début Thunder, Lightning Strike there are moments when things become unexpectedly sublime. The glistening 80s keyboard swoops on Apollo Throwdown, sweetly naive melodies on Ready to Go Steady, Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki’s vocal on Secretary Song and Best Coast’s Bethany Consentino’s contributions to the Triple J-hyped Buy Nothing Day all hint at this being their most song-oriented album yet. Introducing an African choir on the brilliant The Running Range that exemplifies the freedom Parton operates under, given that there are essentially two versions of the band; Parton in his room bringing in guests and band members as he chooses to make an album, and an exuberant sextet who sell it.
Apparently mastered via a C90 cassette the album doesn’t sound low-fi to its detriment though vocal clarity is sacrificed for that glorious nostalgic scuzz which seems to suggest happiness in a sunny pre-internet age. With rumours that the band may be splitting after their tour this year, the instrumentals Super Triangle, Yosemite Theme and Lazy Poltergeist hint at a possible future for Parton’s music; heavy on Boards of Canada-style Moog lead lines and acoustic guitar, by no means a bad thing. Hopefully this focus on melody and harmony won’t mean their live show is any less thrilling when they bring it in May.