Arts & Entertainment
3 min

MUSIC: The Go! Team and Ann Wilson

Half a Heart and spazztastic fun

The second album by The Go! Team is called Proof Of Youth and it’s just as cool and spirited as the debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike. But what Ian Parton started as a solo home-recording project has become a full-fledged ragtag band of party starters.

The Go! Team has been touring since 2006 and now the group is tighter, more drum-heavy and, thankfully, as spazzy as ever. With female vocals calling out like giddy mind-controlling cheerleaders over sparkling tambourines, juicy guitars, hand claps (pop’s newest percussion obsession), chunky drums and marching band horns, it’s just too seductive to ignore. The tunes jump at you full-throttle and engage with full-blown extravagance. There are only a few light instrumental breaks here. This is music to get you off your ass.

The opening track “Grip Like A Vice” is girl power to the max. The whirly guitar intro makes way for rapper Ninja, mixed in with samples of original female MCs Sha-Rock and Lisa Lee spouting their words of wisdom, fun shit like: “The blast from the past/ Superb in every word/ Soupest female rapper/ Yes the best you heard/ Lisa Lee is known to be the people’s choice/ I get parties rocking with my sensuous voice.”

Buddies accumulated over the years appear as guests including The Rapper’s Delight Club Kids, Double Dutch Divas, Bonde do Role’s Marina Ribatski and Chuck D.

“The Wrath Of Marcie” is a sublime track. As if plopped down in a loud mighty brass section playground, Ninja raps and screams as guitars spin about and the drums stay hard and punchy. It’s a delicious track. The album has a high school raw-raw-sis-boom-bah about it. It’s a glee club of artist souls.

Proof Of Youth.
The Go! Team.
Secret City Records. $14.


I love Ann Wilson’s voice. On family camping vacations in the 1970s her voice was always there, burning brighter than any Coleman lantern. Ann and sister Nancy (and a rotation of dudes) made up the legendary band Heart. Their hits were constantly played on the car radio during our long road trips to the campground. “Crazy For You” and “Dreamboat Annie” — loves them.

Of course, my favourite song was “Barracuda.” Thunderous guitars mixed with Ann’s rock-chick wail were heard every night above the screams, laughs, clanging beer bottles and motorcycle rumbles of the bike gangs and their babes, always stationed at a campsite close to ours. My parents hated the noise. My sisters and I thought it was all so cool and imagined the goings-on as we listened, warm in our sleeping bags.

“Awww… bara-bara-cuda… Oh ya, ya.” To my ears it’s like Brahm’s Lullaby.

On Sep 11 Ann Wilson released her very first solo album, Hope And Glory. It’s nearly all covers, with the exception of the Wilson-penned closing number “Little Problems, Little Lies.” Wilson’s choices are mostly ’60s and ’70s tunes loaded with messages of peace, war and hard times. To top it off, it’s a duets album. Her guests are good choices who complement her strong, raspy voice perfectly. They include Elton John, kd lang, Wynonna, Gretchen Wilson, Alison Krauss, Shawn Colvin and Rufus Wainwright. Even sis Nancy shows up on a couple of the tracks.

Produced by Ben Mink (lang, Feist, Barenaked Ladies), Hope And Glory feels like a perfectly slick produced campfire singalong. Many of the songs are too familiar and not enough is done to them to give a unique spin. Neil Young’s “War Of Man,” Led Zeppelin’s “Immigration Song” and John Lennon’s “Isolation” just shouldn’t be touched. Wilson fairs much better on the more intimate, personal songs.

Her version of Lucinda Williams’ gorgeous “Jackson” is perfection. Mink plays fiddle, lap steel, electric and acoustic guitars as Wilson harmonizes with Mink’s good friend and fellow Recline, lang. Lang is just the most relaxed singer ever. She doesn’t think about it. The emotions just flow out of her. She’s so at ease with it all and she lets Wilson shine with her lovely soft mellow support.

The duet that follows is equally good. With the help of Wynonna, Wilson gives The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” a campy Sapphic feel. When Wynonna (the carrot-topped Elvis impersonator that she is) sneers, “My girl you’re so young and pretty/ And one thing I know is true/ You’ll be dead before your time is due,” well, you just want to cream yourself. Their voices are extremely sexy together. Everything pops and awakens when Wynonna shows up (she’s on two tracks). They should definitely record an album together. They both may have found their new music partners. Bye Nancy. Bye Naomi.

Hope And Glory.
Ann Wilson.
Zoe Records, $15.