The Get Go : A Sparkling New Spin
By: Ric Hickey
I am always pleasantly surprised when a musical act can take the age-old building blocks of Rock n Roll and re-shape and re-distribute the pieces to create something totally fresh and original. Based out of Chicago, The Get Go is the latest band to grab my attention in such a fashion. Just when you think you’ve heard every conceivable combination of power chords, fast tempos and barking angsty youth culture lyrics, The Get Go comes along with a fresh twist and a sparkling new spin on this tried and true Punk Rock recipe.
As is almost always the case, good songs make the difference. A lot of the things I’ve read about The Get Go mentions how this crew was assembled much like an all-star team, comprised as they are of veterans from numerous other successful bands like Showoff, Allister, Escape From Earth, and The White-Tie Affair. There must be at least a kernel of truth to it because The Get Go’s music easily and effortlessly exceeds the limits of most other stuff of this genre. In particular, singer Chris Dalle-Valle puts across the band’s lyrics with non-stop energy and compelling emotive force.
Punk succeeds most when it blends raw power with catchy hooks that convey some sort of universal feeling, something anyone can relate to. Example: teenage frustration plus repetitive three chord pattern plus easily understood sentiment, such as “I don’t want to go down to the basement”, equals success! Of course there is a little more to it than that. But this seemingly simple equation has eluded many talented musicians. It has not eluded The Get Go. They have mastered and caged the mad muse like lightning in a bottle. Their songs are simple confections performed with barely-controlled rage, professionally produced with a unique blend of drum programming and synth sounds mixed with pounding drums, distorted guitars and anguished vocals.
“Sing To Me” opens with a haunting piano riff layered over a hypnotic drum pattern. Soon the full band launches into a powerful progression and within a few seconds the brilliance of The Get Go is apparent. The music surges forward with unstoppable urgency and the band joins in with some piercing vocal harmonies. The Get Go has a strong sense of dynamics and their songs have very unique arrangements including some surprises, unexpected left turns, quick stops and a most excellent use of tension and release. “Bury The Bride” is another prime example of The Get Go’s grasp of Punk song craft. With centrifugal force like a carnival ride, the song lurches and leaps, accented by punchy guitar breaks that sound like an evil horn section injecting brassy accents.
There is great variety across the span of just half a dozen or so tunes to be found on the band’s myspace page, and the Get Go’s debut album was at one time ranked as the 7th best selling rock record in Japan. The band’s grueling tour schedule has apparently served them well, refining the band’s chemistry along the way and building a huge international fanbase in just three short years since the band started in 2007.
Checking out their tunes on myspace, I was struck by their clever cover of Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me”. They did a great job of it but what stuck with me was how much better the lyrics are in the Get Go’s original material. A well-done cover of a well-known tune is almost always a good way to grab the attention of a listener either online or in a live setting. But The Get Go’s considerable strengths are proudly on display in the band’s very strong original material. It might be their clever choice of cover tune that initially gets them some attention, but what lies just beyond that easy entry point is a deep and bountiful treasure trove of first-rate Punk Rock by a hard-working band that is clearly destined for greener pastures.