Three years on from their Thunder, Lightning, Strike debut, some of the shine has faded from The Go! Team's primitivist street-beat style. Their big-beat drum avalanches now sound a little dated, and though their anti-production aesthetic offers the potential for tangled, Public-Enemy-style sample-scapes, it's clear, when Chuck D himself drops in on "Flashlight Fight", that the reverberating cacophony lacks the sculpted quality of PE's Bomb Squad productions. But at least it's possible to make out his rap; for most of Proof of Youth, it's impossible to discern more than the occasional phrase of the girls' deadpan chant-raps – usually cheerleader exhortations like, "do it, all right!" and, "we are the hardcore legends and we never fail!" – which consequently resemble a playground tumult. Even "Fake ID", the best-developed melody here, is swamped by an unruly mess of an arrangement. The better tracks are those in which triumphant brass fanfares and ebullient Northern Soul riffs collide urgently behind the girls' chanting.
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