Go Action Team
I always listen to stuff all the way through at least twice before reviewing it. First impressions are dangerous; it's always a good idea to double-check and make sure you're totally certain a record is good before you say so. It's also wise, though burdensome, to make sure there's nothing at all redeeming about a CD before you rip it to pieces. I could have written everything I'm about to write about Go Action Team a week ago, but I couldn't bring myself to listen to their ten-song CD again for this long. It's just that tedious.
I did find one nice thing to say, though, so let's go ahead and lead with that: Their drummer has decent meter. It may well come from the fact that he plays exactly the same beat on every song (half time on the hi-hat, kick on the one, double kick on the three), but at least he does so confidently and competently. That's about the nicest thing you can say about It's Not a Question, Baby, a witless collection of lousy songwriting, shoddy lyrics, rote structures, inaccurate harmonies, and lazy musicianship. Go Action Team rhyme "all right" with "tonight" on at least three of the songs, and there's nary a line on the whole record that doesn't sound pilfered. "Before/much more," "too late/can't wait," "stay/million miles away," you get the idea.
The abysmal lyrics by themselves aren't enough to condemn the band, but they're an indicative of a musical approach that takes the easy path every time. The songs all have basically the same melody. There's no rhythmic variation for more than half of the tunes, with the trio chugging eighth notes in unison and changing chords in the same places every time. When there's a guitar solo, Scott Collier usually just plays the same notes of the chords he's been playing in the verses, only higher up and with an effect on them. For exactly two bars of "Tonight," the guitar does something different, and "So Long" and "Blood Red Letter" have good solos. Other than that, there's nothing even remotely interesting or listenable for all of 10 songs. On the rare occasion the band ventures into syncopated rhythm, you realize why they do it so rarely, because bassist Mike Combs can't keep up. His playing is laggy and muddy-sounding (although the latter is probably a blessing). He's only replicating what Collier is doing anyway, which makes it odd than most of the time he can't even play his single-note parts correctly.
Add the brain-dead lyrics to the repetitive, amateur playing and repeated exposure to this music could cause permanent hearing damage. Entirely by accident, "Round 2" sums the up the entire experience more succinctly than I ever could: "We're back where we started/Has anything changed at all?" Nope, you're still playing the same chords in the same rhythm, badly, while singing lyrics that sound incompletely translated from a different language. I'm done with Go Action Team now, and I think I need a shower. Or at least to listen to Weezer's Pinkerton and hear simple heavy-guitar pop music executed the correct way, with original lyrics, a rhythm section that has something to contribute, lots of changes, memorable melodies, harmonies that are actually in harmony, and lead guitar playing which will appeal to the non-lobotomized. In short, the antithesis of this self-impressed, static garbage.