The Go! Team - The Scene Between

by Jim Harris Rating:9 Release Date:2015-03-30

With a pop followed by fizzling, the new Go! Team album begins. What follows is garage-pop at its finest. This slap-happy, joyous collection of new tunes by Ian Parton and his Brighton band continues their pursuit of the perfect skewed and raggedy pop song.

Ian Parton, as he did on their first album, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, writes all the songs. After 10 years of wildly energetic, crazy-ass pop music exploding all over the hip-hop, garage-grind, cacophony of slightly controlled noise-blasts, Ian is, on The Scene Between, trying to follow some sort of pop formula.

Ninja’s rapping is gone as are the vocals-by-committee that whistled pleasantly through their earlier albums and shows. These are replaced by… Belinda Carlisle with a slight accent and a cold? The rather flat, range-less, could-you-ask–your-girlfriend-if-she-can-sing vocals at first seem a bit off-putting but, frankly, Ian’s vision hasn’t ever been more focused and his intent more evident. 

Supposedly, Ian employed any number of different females to replace Ninja and Co. on this album, but none of them carry a tune much farther than the scope of the garage-pop standards he establishes here. Ian knows what he can make on Japanese anime soundtracks and video games, and many of these controlled pop melodies would surgically fit into any number of commercial situations.

This is pop just rich and varied enough to keep the listener engaged. The bouncy ‘What D’You Say’ opens the album with a surge of pure, mindless pop before transitioning into perhaps the strongest song, the title track, which explores a complex pop amalgamation of melody, scratches, and a catchy chorus showing just how far, in 10 years, Ian has brought this band. Another highlight is ‘Rolodex the Seasons’, a wistful, joyous, carnival instrumental in the middle of it all.

While Ian’s vision here has never been more controlled, it’s still the Go! Team after all, and when the singer-by-committee begs you to "Catch me on the rebound, baby", it sounds like she's addressing someone on the sideline of a trampoline, enjoying the happy, innocent glimpses of her panties.

This is the Go! Team’s most complete, and in many ways, satisfying album to date. Let’s just hope Ian never completely grows up.

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