The Go! Team: Semicircle (Memphis Industries)

Evergreen Brightonian genre magpies make storming, brass-band assisted return

Released Jan 19th, 2018 via Memphis Industries / By Richard Lewis
The Go! Team: Semicircle (Memphis Industries) Returning to the fray backed by band stalwarts guitarist Sam Dook and charismatic frontwoman Ninja, Ian Parton, leader of matchless genre magpies The Go! Team has a new peg to hang an album on, juxtaposing the Brighton outfit's breakbeats and old school hip-hop manoevers with hooks provided by brass bands. While 2015s excellent The Scene Between (review) was effectively a solo disc under The Go! Team moniker with a bevy of guest singers,fifth LP Semicircle is more of a group-focused project.

While brass has featured in the group’s output before (cf. 2008 single The Wrath of Marcie) eschewing samples this time around, Parton headed to his ‘musical mecca’ Detroit to record marching bands up close. Wrapped in a cover that sees Sgt. Pepper relocated to a school gym (an album which also featured a high quotient of arrangements for horns), the almost title track, lead single Semicircle Song which features The Detroit Youth Choir on vocals plus introducing themselves and their star sign is a charming reintroduction to the band. Evoking Aretha’s Rescue Me and fellow love emergency classic, ABBA’s SOS, lapel-grabbing single Mayday replete with Morse Code spelling out the title makes for an excellent follow up while Chain Link Fence recalling 2004 cut Everyone’s A VIP To Someone sees the band whimsical mood.

Despite the fascinating provenance of All the Way Live, which utilises 1983 samples of an after-school music club in Chicago that encouraged kids to take up rapping, crafting a song out of the material is less successful, as the repeated brass riff begins to grate. If that track is slightly below par, the airy pop of succeeding cut If There’s One Thing You Should Know, proves to be the best moment on the album. Featuring The Go! Team's standard allocation of two instrumentals, Chico’s Radical Decade sounds pleasantly like incidental music from 1970s US sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, while Tangerine / Satsuma / Clementine, wears thin quickly. Elsewhere Hey! which includes a spoken word passage in French points up the band’s fondness for Francophone pop (check out 2015 standalone single Ye Ye Yamaha).

An,unstoppable force of nature onstage, vocalist Ninja make a welcome return for her first ‘Team appearance since 2011 with the energy rush of She’s Got Guns, whose concluding guitar break recalls one of the band's early gems, Grip Like A Vice. While the closing two tracks Plans Are Like A Dream U Organise and Getting Back Up are slightly undistinguished, Semicircle states in no uncertain terms, in these turbulent times especially, that the world is a vastly better place with The Go! Team in it.