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The Go! Team
Get Up Sequences Part One Ed Power , July 5th, 2021 08:37

Perennial underdogs The Go! Team return with clattery beats and bittersweet party tunes, still as boisterous and rambunctious as ever, finds Ed Power

Lifetimes of euphoria and sadness are bound up in the music of The Go! Team. That is especially true of the group’s bruised and effervescent sixth album, which arrives in the shadow of the pandemic and the death of songwriter and producer Ian Parton’s father. And of Parton’s 2019 diagnosis with Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder which can lead to vertigo and hearing loss.

But The Go! Team have found strength in adversity and an air of defiance infuses Get Up Sequences Part One. That sensibility comes galloping through in Parton’s valiant clatter of melodies and samples. And in singer Ninja’s vocals, which punch and gyrate in the manner of a cheerleader with razor-blades in her pom-poms.

“World remember me now,” Ninja (real name Nkechi Ka Egenamba) sings on the track of the same name and it sounds not like a plea but a command. That sense of determination to stand up and count for something is reinforced by Parton’s bittersweet grooves. These are upholstered with marching band brass, wonky harmonicas, and a symphony of steel drums. And they are tinged with the sort of autumnal ache that can only be conjured when life has kicked you in the shins a few times.

As ever with The Go! Team, this jumble of beats, terrace-chant choruses, and guitars that go spiralling off into the ether, are held together by an underdog spirit. This outsider quality has always been one of their most unappreciated strengths. And it harks back to the circumstances in which the Brighton outfit were unleashed upon the world in 2004.

That was the high watermark of the post-Strokes and White Stripes surge in scrappy guitar urchins. Or, in the vernacular, the golden era of landfill indie. Much like Britpop, here was one of those uncomfortable moments when the industry became fixated with the past rather than the future. And just as Britpop lassoed itself to a dimly-remembered 60s, so landfill indie tries to conjure with the bloated excesses of 70s rock.

There was plenty of bloat in landfill indie too – too many songs that went nowhere, too many musicians straining for mediocrity. And then came The Go! Team to show there was a better way. They were inspired by Bollywood and hip-hop as much as by Sonic Youth and Nirvana. And they sprinkled the anarchy with a happy-sad sensibility straight from The Carpenters, Abba and the Beach Boys.

A decade plus on, landfill indie has gone to the great incinerator in the sky. And yet The Go! Team endure, weathering the slings, the arrows and the caricature that has accumulated around the band as purveyors of two-dimensional party anthems. The Get Up Sequences Part One has its moments of unrestrained incandescence, it is true. However, a tremendous melancholy comes gusting through too. “Heartbreak but I’m okay / I’mma wipe my tears, no fear this way,” rhymes Detroit rapper IndigoYaj on ‘Cookie Scene’. It’s a devastating couplet – dark yet with a twinkle of light. And it confirms that, for those who wish to splice up their life, The Go! Team are still masters of cut ‘n paste heartache.