In conjunction with Tuesday's release of their acclaimed, Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, the Go! Team will tour the States for fourteen dates, beginning October 15th in Dallas. With few American shows under their belt -- including their breakthrough at this year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas -- the U.K. dance/pop outfit's return to the States is sure to be buzzed about.
Guitarist, drummer and harmonica player Ian Parton formed the eccelectic six-piece -- Parton, drummer Chi Fukami Taylor, guitarist Sam Dook, bassist Jamie Bell, MC Ninja and keyboardist/guitarist/drummer Silke Steidinge -- with the idea of combining DJ club culture with live, rock-band performance.
"I'm interested in changing the source and making it something new," Parton says of the Go! Team's unique sound, which has garnered wide-ranging comparisons: to Belle and Sebastian, the Jackson Five and Sonic Youth. "There's never a message in the earnest singer-songwriter tradition," he continues. "It's more about ideas, production and experimental mixing: mixing Phil Spector-style lady vocals with old-school hip-hop; blowing car chase-style trumpets with distorted guitar; or recorders with electro-beat and a banjo in the chorus. Because I've never heard that done before. In a way, that's the point of the song."
The U.S. version of Thunder, which was originally released in the U.K. in 2004, includes the bonus tracks "We Just Won't be Defeated" and "Hold Yr Terror Close," as well as songs reworked for copyright reasons. "Since we were denied some samples, it was a rewriting scenario," explains Parton. "There's only one place where it gets to me, on 'Junior Kickstart' -- but there are other songs that are better."
As for their live sets, fans have come to expect the unexpected: Ninja freestyles vocals and lyrics during performances, and a crew of dancers joined the group for a recent show. "Someone from our label was walking through a park's community festival and saw four girls in a circle," says Parton. "They were going '5-6! 5-6-7-8!' and doing handstands in a circle -- and that's pure Go! Team." The girls were brought on board, in the kind of special guest appearance the band would like to see more of.
"Our live show [and our recordings] are two different entities," says Parton. "I love the idea of cramming so much in that you can hardly take it -- just pushing it over the edge!"
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