Chicago based Power-Poppers, Go Time, have surfaced with their latest album, Eight Ball. Formed from the ashes of a previous group, Go Time have a combined level of experience that spans, decades. For their 5th effort, they’ve employed the production services of the reputable, Mike Hagler, who has worked with Wilco, among others. They’ve also packed twenty tracks in total onto the album. The results are primarily positive, as this release is structured, focused and versatile.
The title track, “Eight Ball” is an energetic rocker, with a guitar intro that’s rife with attitude. It’s moments on songs like this one, where Go Time’s attention to detail is on display, as they add a subtle, but catchy, synth riff. It may not seem like much, but it really adds some coating to the track. Take another look/stuck behind the eight ball. The cover of the album, depicts a pool cue, on a table, that’s presumed to be the eight ball, but edited to look like the Earth. It could suggest that we are not in control of where we go, next, but the one with the stick is.
“Planned Withdrawal” starts off with great promise, by utilizing piano in the most overt way, on the record, to that point. It quickly disintegrates into digital chaos, though. It could have been a mistake, that they tried to patch up, but the entire band, sounds off with each other, here. This one has something of a “Secret Agent Man” ring to it. You can tell it is a well written piece, but it’s hard to hear, underneath the musical traffic jam.
In contrast, “Work In Progress” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s got a swing, and a slyness to it, that isn’t really expressed until that point of the record. The guitars sound amazing, and the lead vocal is consistent and virtually flawless. Seriously, the charisma and personality the band shows on this one, will reinforce your perception of just how capable they are. This is a standout track, that has potential as a standalone single.
“Little By Little,” keeps the energy high, and kicks you right in the gut, from the intro. This is the point, where I feel that the Power Pop classification is a bit undermining. This song has shades of rockabilly, and even a dash of punk. It shows what Go Time can really do, when they pick up the tempo, and the assertion. It’s the point on the record, where they truly live up to their name.
Go Time have really pushed themselves to churn out a solid effort on Eight Ball, and for the most part, they’ve succeeded. Some might question the decision to place so many tracks on a single album, but we have to assume this was something the band considered crucial to the overlying narrative. There are a lot of high spots on Eight Ball, and few low ones; no pun intended. The guitar work really cranks, and Go Time has established, something of a signature tone. Go Time has certainly called their shot, on Eight Ball.