With their usual shot of audio adrenaline, the Brighton band still sound as life-affirming on their seventh album as they did nearly 20 years ago
It only seems like five minutes ago that The Go! Team burst into our lives with the wonderful Thunder Lightning Strike album. It was though, almost unbelievably, 19 years now since that debut, and Ian Parton and company have since released six further records and established themselves as a formidable live presence.
The band’s seventh album follows just over 18 months from Get Up Sequences Part 1, and as its title suggests, follows flawlessly in its predecessor’s footsteps. For, after all this time, it’s pretty much established what a Go! Team album sounds like, and on Part 2, the template is followed but with a couple of welcome twists to proceedings.
Yet that’s not to damn Get Up Sequences Part 2 as being formulaic. It’s more of a case of ‘this isn’t broken, so why fix it’, and therefore there’s 12 more infectiously sunny, Technicolour anthems, helped by an ever expanding cast of guest vocalists (including, this time around, former Apples In Stereo drummer Hilarie Bratset and Kokubo Chisato from K-Pop band Lucie Too). This does mean that’s there’s less room for perennial Go! Team favourite Ninja sadly (she only takes lead vocals on two tracks this time around), but her replacements do a fine job of standing in for her bundle of kinetic energy.
This time around, Parton’s Wall of Sound is joined by an international cast – something that Parton himself has said was a conscious reaction against Brexit. That’s explicitly made clear in Getting To Know (All The Ways We’re Wrong For Each Other), featuring Niadzi Muzira on lead vocals. It’s not, as the title may suggest, about a disintegrating romantic relationship, but rather written from the point of view of an immigrant who decides her adopted country isn’t really for them (“I’m just a sightseer, it never did feel right here”).
Those sentiments run through the record in the main – the opening track Look Away Look Away is even sung entirely in French, and Divebomb is an exhilarating pro-choice anthem with a chorus of “keeping on, organising, mobilising”, although Parton is careful never to let the party vibe drop. Gemini, one of the tracks where Ninja takes centre-stage, is vintage Go! Team, guaranteed to warm up winter with some fizzling synths and evocative kettle drums, while Brooklyn MC Nitty Scott is an exhilarating highlight on Whammy O, which perfectly blends her rapid-fire delivery with Parton’s orchestration.
The presence of the seven-piece teenage all-female Star Feminine Band from Benin on the aforementioned Look Away Look Away and The Me Frequency gives the usual Go! Team formula a fresh twist – it’s hard to imagine the band’s usual energy being even greater, but they manage it here. Even tracks where the same techniques are used as previously – the cheerleader vocals, the cut-up samples – still sound perfectly fresh and danceable.
There may not be too many surprises on Get Up Sequences Part 2 (and it works perfectly well as a double album with its predecessor), but there doesn’t really need to be with The Go! Team. It’s the usual shot of audio adrenaline, and they still sound as life-affirming as they did nearly 20 years ago.