Brighton, England’s The Go! Team have refined the brand of sunny cheerleading pop that won them the 2005 Mercury Prize, bringing in stronger production that favors live performance over samples, new layers of sonic texture and a few guest performances to boot. The record’s opening track and leadoff single, ‘Grip Like a Vice’, finds the band holding on to their lo-fi hip-hop but adding a wall of roaring guitars that reeks of their ex-tourmates Sonic Youth’s influence. While Proof of Youth’s improvements showcase a ballsier, more adventurous band — much of what has come to define it (e.g. the cheerleading, the 70s cop show/Price Is Right trumpet stabs) is starting to sound stale. It’s only when The Go! Team deviates from their comfort zone that the record really shines. Thankfully, Proof of Youth is saved by its finer moments: Public Enemy’s Chuck D strong-arming his way through the classic beats of ‘Flashlight Fight’, and the band’s most intimate and best songwriting yet on the piano-driven ‘I Never Needed It Now So Much’.