Both of my first two choices for songs to post on today were already taken. This has never happened to me before. Usually, if it’s something relatively new and hip, I’ll have to compete with Brother J to determine who gets bragging rights for posting first. Occasionally, having lost that battle, I’ll attempt to revisit a track a couple of months down the track only to find that J has already extolled the virtues of that particular song earlier. I suppose its fitting, given our ongoing themes of camaraderie and bonhomie and birthday wishes here at OAD, that I should be double-thwarted in my efforts this evening, courtesy of J’s excellent and timely pieces on Jack White’s ‘Love Interruption‘ and Frank Ocean’s ‘Lost‘. Who ever said siblings don’t think on the same frequency was wrong. So wrong. But thankfully for The Go! Team, a game of Russian roulette with my music library’s shuffle function later and their ‘Bottle Rocket’, from all the way back in 2004, gets a look in.
If ever I’m genuinely stuck for a song to post on, this shuffling process is generally the cure-all by which I can locate some fresh target for the day. But today, I’ve had to take it one step further. After having had my first two possibilities soundly rejected by a search of the archives, something new and/or different was not going to suffice. Instead, I had to find a track to post on that J would never have posted on, something that might be anathema to his very musical sensibilities, in order to ensure that it wouldn’t have the same flashing red neon ‘Taken’ sign swinging from its opening bars. In ‘Bottle Rocket’, I think I found that very track.
When I first saw The Go! Team live back in 2010, it was on the back of their third studio album ‘Rolling Blackouts’ and, apart from adhering to the on-stage explosion of colour and energy that I expected from them, the group disappointed me (only familiar with their 2004 debut ‘Thunder, Lightning, Strike’) in that they seemed to offer a fairly good approximation of a normal indie rock band. There I was expecting to lose my shit to some appropriation-heavy electronic jam and this six-piece walks out with guitars and a real drum kit… and I lost my shit. I can’t speak for the two albums that came after ‘T, S, L’ because frankly, even with a Mercury Prize nomination, a 9/10 from NME (whatever that counts for) and similarly high praise from Pitchfork, the debut was music for its time. As much as I was and continue to be thoroughly engaged by ‘Bottle Rocket’, it was cutting edge for 2004. Aware of this, The Go! Team changed the formula on their next two studio releases and lost me along the way. That said, as a time capsule from 2004, it doesn’t get much better than this track. Sampling in anything but hip-hop, Girl Talk or Avalanches territory is always fraught with danger. On ‘Bottle Rocket’, The Go! Team, channeling the exhuberance that their exclaimed moniker implies, seamlessly blend double dutch calls of ‘2, 4, 6, 8, 10!’ with terribly officious horn lines, the kind of drumming that reminds you of the band’s fundamental imperative and original rap-vocals. The result is such a ridiculously thick sounding melange of influences that it shouldn’t really work. Whether it was the general gist of the piece or the immense efforts of founding member Ian Parton, tweaking pitches and tempos in his parents’ kitchen in Brighton, this track won me over in 2004. Eight years later, ‘Bottle Rocket’ remains wildly exciting, anachronistic and about as much fun as you can have, legally, in 3’32”. Just don’t tell J about it.
The Go! Team – Bottle Rocket