Music: Rolling Blackouts by The Go! Team *****
Three albums into their career and Brighton sextet The Go! Team have struck gold. It may be released in dark, drab January, but Rolling Blackouts is the sound of summer -- a euphoric, effervescent, eclectic collection to dazzle even the most jaded listener. I've been playing the album every day for a fortnight now, and my favourite song keeps changing.
Their music is just as big, brash and bold as it was when the collective first emerged in 2004 with debut album Thunder, Lightning, Strike. But while much of that album was maddeningly all over the place, this one boasts one perfectly judged pop song after the next. Yes, the sound is as full on as ever -- but the focus has narrowed. Weak, half-baked tracks don't get a look in.
As ever, the success of the songs lies in the ability of Ian Parton to marry a staggering array of genres. Throw in the attitude-heavy vocals of Ninja -- Britain's most underrated singer -- and you've got, in the words of Brian Wilson, "pocket symphonies" that take you on a rollercoaster ride for three minutes or so.
The album gets underway in typically blistering form. T.O.R.N.A.D.O. is aptly named -- it assaults the listener from the first note and blasts their consciousness. And it's the first part of a salvo that shows the band have reached a whole new level.
Pop harmonies abound in Secretary Song, which features a memorably husky vocal from Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki, while Apollo Throwdown, best heard through headphones, is an uncommonly infectious wall of noise and shouted vocals. The latter embodies the band's more is more approach and its woozy sonic template is thrilling.
But it's the sheer variety of music that makes Rolling Blackouts so appealing. Ready to Go Steady sounds like a lost 60s girlband tune produced by Phil Spector -- yes, really --while Yosemite Theme is a gorgeous instrumental piece.
And then there's Buy Nothing Day, a power-pop song of such perfection it's certain to be at the business end of all those end-of-year polls. And Best Coast's Bethany is on vocals. Indie dreams are made of this.
The Go! Team's next live appearance in Ireland is in Black Box, Galway, on March 3. Tickets are free -- log on to www.heinekenmusic.ie
Burn it: Buy Nothing Day; Secretary Song; Apollo Throwdown
Day & Night