I had a dream last night where the centrepiece of the upcoming Brighton Festival was a concert by The Go! Team, but instead of being in a venue it was a parade through the streets with the band accompanied by a brass band and a steel band and loads of vocalists and dancers. It was a joyous celebration. As the procession wound it’s way around the lanes the crowds grew bigger and bigger, culminating in a massive finale on the beach. Sadly it was just a dream, but close your eyes listening to the band’s new album Semicircle and it isn’t too hard to imagine (and if David Shrigley or anyone from the Festival reads this, it’s not too late to make it happen!)
The Go! Team return this Friday with their fifth album Semicircle, a joyous slab of day-glo kaleidoscopic psychedelia. What marks their new record out from their previous releases is that it’s also their funkiest yet, thanks in part to collaborations with the Detroit Youth Choir and Brighton’s own Neon Saints Brass Band. The samples are still there, from 1960s French pop on Hey! through to a bouncing ping pong ball at the start of Tangerine Satsuma Clementine, but it’s the live instrumentation of parts that Ian Parton would have previously used samples for that gives the record a real boost.
It isn’t all about the funk though – Chico’s Radical Decade is one of those brilliant instrumentals they do so well with woozy flutes that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Boards of Canada record over skittering beats which slowly somehow morphs into the theme to an imaginary remake of Bonanza. There are 8 bit bleeps and reversed sections on Chain Link Fence, and All The Way Live packs a hip hop punch that wouldn’t have been out of place on their 2007 album Proof of Youth. With any luck they’re holding back the release of If There’s One Thing You Should Know as a single until May or June when, if there was any justice, it wouldn’t leave the radio for the whole summer.
The album closes with the words “It’s alright” being sung over triumphant brass. Semicircle isn’t alright – it’s much, much better than that.