The Go! Team - Semicircle
Back with their fifth album, Brighton's The Go! Team are back on familiar ground. After their Mercury-nominated debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike, the group gradually faded from the limelight. At least when compared to their huge explosion to public consciousness, with many hearing their tracks without necessarily knowing it was The Go! Team (for instance, ‘Get It Together’ being synonymous with the PlayStation game Little Big Planet). 2015’s The Scene Between being, in essence, a solo effort from the group’s brainchild Ian Parton before taking an indefinite hiatus.
Fans will be glad to hear then that the release of Semicircle sees Parton re-joined by original members: the kinetic rapper and de-facto front person Ninja, and guitarist Sam Dook. Also along for the ride are current live lineup members Simone Odaranile (drums) and Angela ‘Maki’ Won-Yin Mak (vocals), amongst countless other contributors. From the second the needle drops, the collaborative party atmosphere washes over you.
Drawing musical influence from High School marching bands, it is recorded in such a way that makes it feel expansive yet intimate and comforting. The album also takes its cues from old school hip hop, bubblegum pop, and 60s girl groups like The Shangri-Las and Phil Spector's assorted groups. Highlights include bass heavy, Tom Tom Club inspired, ‘All The Way Live’, the pounding 60s pop ‘The Answers No, Now What's the Question’, the sitar bounce along 'May Day', and ‘Getting Back Up’'s euphoric call up.
If there were an issue with Semicircle, it is that there are times when the vocals start to become buried underneath the huge brass band sound that it’s difficult to discern what is actually being sung. But maybe that's the point, with music and lyrics together to create a vibrant landscape, blending seamlessly to create a record that hits you like a shot of vitamin B12. As Parton says, its not an escapist fantasy but more an achievable goal, “We don’t want to be dumbly optimistic and say, ‘Hey, isn’t everything great!’ but there’s something to be said for just getting on with it, for getting organised and not letting the fuckers get you down. Party for your right to fight!”. Now, that’s a goal to get behind.