The Go! Team earn their exclamation point. Their debut album, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, is a refreshing blast of Day-Glo bubble-dance-pop that could crack a smile on even the most frozen of faces. The sound of the record is a slap in the face to audio purists; it sounds like it was recorded on a truck stop-quality cassette in a very damp, crowded basement. The feel of the record is like a slap on the arse of complacent music-makers everywhere. A wake-up call to arms; a "can you top this?" The group whips up a clattering, exhilarating collage of Northern soul horns meshed with sampledelic beats, plangent harmonica, lyrical piano melodies that bring Martin Duffy's work with Felt to mind (especially on "Feelgood By Numbers"), hard-charging '70s police drama funk, old-school hip-hop, and sincere indie rock. Everyone from Marley Marl to Sonic Youth is roped in to be borrowed from. It's all thrown together with a glorious sense of what works and what doesn't. There isn't a single misstep on the record and it is hard to pick favorites because every song is so blindingly good. Still, if pressed, one might pick "Ladyflash" because it encapsulates everything that is brilliant about the band, from the "Tighten Up" samples to the wonderful vocals (by the one-woman wrecking crew Ninja) that are equal parts playground hip-hop crossed with a sassy girl group to the melody to the two drummers beating the holy crap out of their kits. Find a better song than this from 2004 and you are lying. Well, maybe "Huddle Formation," a more straightforward song with the same double dutch vocals, only this time married to bracing New Order playing the hits of Phil Spector in a wind tunnel musical backing. But again any song would do, the banjo-driven epic ballad "Everyone's a V.I.P. to Someone," the funkier than Ike & Tina "Bottle Rocket," the theme to the best day of your life "Friendship Update." It's pin the tail on the donkey where everywhere you stick the pin gets you a prize. The Go! Team is widescreen in a pan-and-scan world, a sparkling rejoinder to purists and spoilsports everywhere and more fun than recess on the last day of school. Cinematic, fantastic, and essential to all who want their music larger than life and rambunctious, Thunder, Lightning, Strike is the kind of record that makes you glad to be alive. What could be better than that?
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra