Creating very much their own sound across their previous albums, The Go! Team have adopted a production trait that divides it’s listeners. Nothing changes and “The Scene Between” is more of the same and that will either delight or infuriate people.
“What D’You Say?” let’s you know what you’re in for if you are new to the epic band. Jangley guitars, brass and flute arrangements like a fairground round backing up motifs and middle eights and a really catchy and super joyous chorus. However the production has a played through a radio too loudly sound to it. Guitars peak out, voices compete on the same sound spectrum and it is designed to sound like a demo tape. I can absolutely see what they go for and why they do it (for the indies!) but sometimes I really want to know what the music would sound like crystal clear. “The Scene Between” however showcases what charm this demo like quality can bring as the lighter guitar tones really shimmer and make the track playful and cute. It’s a track that you’d see being their next placement in LittleBigPlanet.
The other thing that always strikes is the variety of rock that The Go! Team can produce. “Waking the Jetstream” moves from playground rock to a speeding chord heavy grungy rock track with cute vocals before the short interlude “Rolodex the Seasons” gives you a little trip down a country lane before bursting into indie pop gem “Blowtorch” with all kinds of fun percussion and sickly sweet singing. What does become clear by half way and on “Did You Know” is that the band have progressively over time moved away from some of the riotous kitchen sink albums and that this one has more of a usual album structure with regular verse/choruses and so on and this should only make the band more easier to initially digest and hopefully bring a new wave of fans in. There’s still some old crazy there though with the boomboxing car horns “Gaffa Tape Bikini”.
The high energy sugar rush continues with the anthemic “Catch Me on the Rebound” which I think is my favourite track on the album as it channels a rocking ABBA with lots of subtle synth work behind the collage of guitars and drums. In fact, the constant distortion always belittles the work in creating a rich tapestry of sound and it’s always fun to try and work out what instruments or noises you are hearing. “The Floating Felt Tip” I am certain is a slightly eerie toilet or tampon commercial. I kid you not. It’s a warm keyboard and voice piece mainly where the lyrics describe the softness of… something in the morning.
“Her Last Wave” is a middling track and gets slightly lost because of following it is “The Art of Getting By (Song For Heavens)” which is dripping in the finest organs and seeing the band singing all together (in tune!) as they evoke a gospel tinged rock number. It’s so catchy and happy – it’s a great way to get started with the band if you’re looking for an entry point. The closer “Reason Left to Destroy” ends with a more mature rock number – even the vocals are sung in a lower register and it leaves you feeling like you’ve actually gone somewhere during the album and grown up slightly.
The Go! Team have always been a great collection of musicians that can evoke an album of feelings, emotions, joy and sugar rush bliss. However, “The Scene Between” feels like the first time they’ve really gone for a truly usual song and album standard and they’ve pulled it off with aplomb. It’s been a slow evolution to get there but this feels like their most cohesive and standalone work to date. Grab it for happy times!