Finally arriving on U.S. shelves (backed by a major label, no less) after nearly a full year’s worth of legal travails attempting to clear the rights to the 1,001 samples in its employ, The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike has been altered only in the most minor, inconsequential ways, leaving its many, many pleasures fully intact. So the hipster kids who’ve been listening to their imported copies of the album can rest easy: not even Columbia’s “remastering” of the original material has compromised The Go! Team’s DIY aesthetic. And, with the exceptions of two b-sides (“We Just Won’t Be Defeated” and “Hold Yr Terror Close”) that have been justly promoted to proper album status, a rap by newly-minted frontwoman Ninja on “Bottle Rocket” is the only substantive change to draw attention to itself. Thunder, Lightning, Strike still sounds like it could be the original soundtrack to a Tarantino-directed film adaptation of Knight Rider, with some cheerleader chants (as on “The Power Is On,” which can now qualify as one of the best singles of both 2004 and 2005) that even outdo the entirety of “Hollaback Girl.” It’s all horn samples, piano powerchords, and handclaps, and it’s so overwhelmingly happy and thrilling a musical statement that it would justify even a few more exclamation points.
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