Playground love

Joining in on double-dutch matches requires more than the expertise of jumping two intersecting ropes at once. To the discomfort of children with short-term memories, chants have to be recited while the ropes skip. Luckily, hearing these tunes is entertaining in itself, so even kids that cannot comply with this lyrical rite of passage won’t have an entirely wasted recess.
Ian Parton, visionary of the indie band The Go! Team, proves that you do not have to be a kid to enjoy these chants by paying homage to the musical quality of this childhood game in the band’s much anticipated release, The Proof Of Youth.
Unlike The Go! Team’s 2005 release, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, Parton stepped back from his computer and recorded with the five-piece collective that used to only accompany him during live shows. Parton also managed to enlist other contributors including the jump rope team Double Dutch Divas, the rap group Rappers Delight Club, and hip-hop pioneer Chuck D.

The result of all this collaboration sounds like a schizophrenic pep rally. Electronic samples collide with old-school hip-hop beats and schoolyard energy to produce a sound that sometimes overshadows the rapping from the main vocalist, Ninja. The delivery of her lines keeps up with the spastic energy of the instrumentals. However, due to the poor sound quality, her lines end up sounding fuzzy.

Even though it is apparent that so much of the focus on the band is its ability to blur genres, there is little to distinguish songs from one another. The two singles from the album, “Grip Like a Vice” and “Do It Right,” sound virtually identical in their execution, which can lead listeners to believe that regardless of their experimentation, The Go! Team can produce only one type of sound.

Having a similar sound throughout an album is not always seen as a detriment. The success of The Go! Team is built upon their ability to entertain and not to be highly intellectual. Despite the flaws of The Proof Of Youth, the release represents exactly what the title suggests: the curious experimentation and liveliness of childhood, minus the cooties.