The Go! Team’s new release, “Proof of Youth,” is not an album, but a series of sounds that try to become an album, and fail (gloriously). Listening to “Proof of Youth” you are not lifted from your mundane world and given fleeting insight into a universe of beauty. Instead, you witness a band trying to make Music, and failing. The failure is what makes The Go! Team’s music so fun, so honest, and so worth coming back to for this second release.
To understand The Go! Team’s music, you have to first understand its drumming. It is clumsy, loose, and awkward drumming. The drums are too loud and too heavy, and because of this they force themselves to the front of each song, and once there become lost and confused. They try earnestly to keep up with the sounds that swirl around them, to provide a rhythmical anchor for the group despite their own lack of rhythm, but they fail, coming off as sloppy and amateur. In short, they are pathetic imitations of Drums, incompetent, burdened by a human inadequacy that extends beyond the percussion and into the entire album.
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Surrounding the befuddled percussion is a music of disparate parts that never come together, despite valiant attempts to do so. Chopped samples of seventies funk songs, old-school hip-hop jams, and children chanting schoolyard chants exist together but never fully coalesce. Repetitive bass lines and cheesy guitar riffs are haphazardly layered over these samples, entering each song with all the gusto, all the bumbling ineptitude of bad actors. The goal is a gentle tapestry of sound, but the result is something that threatens to come apart at the seams.
Such failure makes for a great album, because The Go! Team somehow manages to make it both catchy and sincere. In a musical world dominated by perfect production (see Timbaland), “Proof of Youth” is not a conscious rejection of that perfection for a more “real” sound (pretentious indie groups, take note). Rather, the album portrays a human attempt to reach that same level of perfection, and the mess that follows. It is a familiar mess; we all have noble aspirations that are made unattainable by our own fucked up natures. Listening to “Proof of Youth,” then, we end up being caught up in the music, rooting for the music, in the same way that we root for the characters in a Wes Anderson film, and for the same reasons; because they’re distillations of our own struggle to deal with life despite our complete inadequacy. Granted, you can’t dwell on failure forever (eventually you do have to go and make successful albums and films), but it feels good to do so every once in a while.
“Proof of Youth” is music appropriate for the generation that realized it could not recreate the 80’s, so instead very innocently created “I Love the 80’s.” It is ridiculously addictive, completely listenable. It is good music. It is failed Music. It is worth your money.
Listen to The Go! Team at http://www.myspace.com/thegoteam