The Go! Team – Semicircle
Semicircle is as close to an out-and-out rock record as The Go! Team have ever gotten and they sound more revitalised than ever
On recent evidence, The Go! Team are one of the finest examples in indie rock of the value in going back to what you know. There was always a sense, when their searingly singular debut record made its way out of bandleader Ian Parton’s kitchen back in 2004, that their sound was such a distinctive one-off that perhaps there wouldn’t be too much long-term mileage in it – the old adage about the star burning twice as bright for half as long sprung to mind. Parton continued to experiment over the years with everything from old cop-chase TV themes to double-dutch chants to old-school hip-hop, and his rotating cast of collaborators became more illustrious as time went on, with the likes of Chuck D and Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast popping up to make guest appearances.
On 2015’s The Scene Between, though, Parton returned to the aesthetic of Thunder, Lightning, Strike, the record that started it all. He produced the group’s finest effort since in the process; he sourced little-known singers to back up force-of-nature frontwoman Ninja and peppered the record with laid-back instrumental interludes. Semicircle, though, feels like a much heftier affair; this is as close to an out-and-out rock record as they’ve ever gotten, eclipsing 2007’s Proof of Youth.
The percussion is thunderous throughout, particularly on Hey! and She’s Got Guns, as well as typically frantic opener Mayday. And even on the more instrumentally placid numbers, there’s still a sense of urgency – see If There’s One Thing You Should Know. This is a more diverse affair than its predecessor, too – Chain Link Fence continues the hip-hop flirtation that first surfaced on Rolling Blackouts in 2011, while there’s a panoramic quality to the likes of Chico’s Radical Decade and Plans Are Like a Dream U Organise.
Parton’s eclectic tastes remain the beating heart of The Go! Team, but in producing a record genuinely representative of the band’s boisterous live shows, he sounds more revitalised than ever. [Joe Goggins]
Listen to: Chain Link Fence, Chico's Radical Decade, Plans Are Like a Dream U Organise