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The Go Team – “Semicircle” Review

Happiest album of 2018?
The Go Team
The Go! Team

The Go Team have for many years been the playground urban rock band that gives out buckets of fun and sass in equal measure. “Semicircle” is their latest album and after moving towards to more structured verse/chorus songs last time out, this see’s a middle ground of that and their previous work which is more freeform evolution of riffs.

Immediately you can tell from opener “Mayday” their love of 70’s funk and disco rock is here and strong. Their mixpot of genres is always what makes The Go Team standout – but their signature muddy production is also still here. Unlike previous albums though, there has been slow shift towards something more clean with their audio and that’s more noticeable on tracks like “Chain Link Fence” where the organs, funk and cuter vocals are abound. The xylophones are crystal clear, the whammy guitars are crisp and the drums are not peaking out to the point where it becomes harsh abrasive noise. It’s funny because it’s a double edged sword. I love that I can hear more of their intricate work, and this album has a lot going on, but it also means that sometimes the songs feel a little less raw and unapologetic. Does it make the album worse? Not at all – it’s more of a subtle change.

Brass is a huge voice on Semicircle and “Semicircle Song” is a joyous marching band anthem for everyone with steel drums, fun vocals and an audio hug for all. If LittleBigPlanet 4 existed, this would be the song they’d place in it. More groovier and heading towards the rock movement “Hey” is a sultry groove out of old with lots of weird and wonderful vocal snippets and dreamy French voice overs. Indeed much of the middle section of the album pushes back to early Go Team with grungy crunch production of rock track “The Answers No – What’s the Question”, where as instrumental “Chico’s Radical Decade” has a beautiful swinging 60’s innocence with its flute heavy orchestration and production like a TV show recorded on VHS.

“All The Way Live” pushes back to the rap funk rock side of the band for classic grooves before a poppier side of the fantastic steel drum led “If There’s One Thing You Should Know” takes you off down a joyous sun drenched holiday. It’s an anthem for Summer in waiting and needs to be a single. Equally a standout is “She’s Got Guns” which is the closest the album gets to a proper thrashing angry rock song. Gone from this album is the big guitar riffs, but this sassy ass groove is so infectious, I’ve had it on repeat unapologetically and it’s the kind of track that makes you stride out on a walk with your body pumped out. The album ends with a Jackson 5 styled “Getting Back Up” and it’s that kind of sound the album permeates the most. Joyous musical fun for all.

The Go Team have such a wide sound that bounds across genres, the beauty is you don’t know what you’re going to get. This motown pop rock rap explosion album is bound to stay as one of the happiest and fun albums of 2018 and whilst it may lack some of the rockier edges of previous albums, it has a smiley sheen all of its own.

Recommended Track: She’s Got Guns

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