It's a great time for follow-up albums. Fresh on the heels of Radiohead's new, free-as-hell album, Zembla favorite The Go Team released their sophomore album Proof of Youth. I really enjoyed the first album, and on the new release, it is more of the same. Maybe things are a little more complicated and ambitious with live instruments instead of samples, and maybe I haven't figured out a track that stands out quite as much as Huddle Formation, but fans of Thunder Lightning, Strike should enjoy this one just as much. Despite the lack of a killer single, this CD is more consistent overall. It's a baby step into more maturity and sophistication, but there's only so much of that you want with the Go Team.
The album cover suggests the mishmash of music and styles you'll find inside. There's a BMX rider, some fighter jets, a fist, a wolf, plus some letters cut out of construction paper, and it's all on graph paper. This image could have been the cover of any number of my friends' Trapper Keepers in fourth grade. Collage what?
Grip Like a Vice - The only thing I take issue with is how much lead singer "Ninja" seems to need reassurance that the crowd is ready to rock, and ready to turn it out. If this was the first album, maybe, but buyers of the second album know what they're getting into. By playing the CD, you've in essence pledged your intention to turn it out. Otherwise, we are right back in The Go Team's wheelhouse (I don't want to use the exclamation point). Hand claps, horn parts seemingly stolen from 70's adventure shows, complicated percussion, high school cheerleader cadences. They seem to let the guitar go off a little bit more. All in all, a stellar lead track to the new album
Doing It Right - They played this song live when I saw them in SF. It's a good live song because they can force the crowd to sing along to the chorus, as it is extremely simple. Doing. It. Right. That's the entire thing.
Titanic Vandalism - Best title on the album. More heavy drums, and that same pep-rally-at-Judgment-Night sound. Like Grip Like a Vice, this one is going to be a live classic.
Fake ID - It doesn't have a strong vocal, or at least, not a strong enough vocal to stand out amidst the percussion and background instrumentation. However, the background cheerleading is compelling, and the horn part is solid.
Flashlight Fight - Features Chuck D of Public Enemy.
Patricia's Moving Picture - There's another song called The Wrath of Marcie, which could make this song part of a multi-track Peanuts shout-out from the Go Team. It's very similar to the previous album's closer, Everyone's a V.I.P. To Someone; a horn-heavy instrumental that manages to sound wistful and heartwarming. The song is like a more effective version of the sad, reflective credits music on Saturday Night Live, making you think, "Maybe listening to a bunch of rapping cheerleaders and overdriven production was more of an emotional experience than I previously thought", just like some SNL viewers undoubtedly get teary-eyed at the bittersweet feeling that comes from knowing that the good times and laughter have come to a close until next week. Unlike the San Francisco Giants, the Go Team has little trouble finding a good closer.
This album is highly recommended, though not available for free like Radiohead, except that, yeah, every CD is pretty much available for free all the time, though not at OiNK.