‘Mayday’ kicks Semicircle into action, an immediate spritely jive in the introduction. From there the marching band comments previously made by Parton seem very fitting with a full sound backing FEMALE VOCALIST’s vocals with simple additions like the ‘M-A-Y-D-A-Y’ vocal running under the chorus.
Onwards through ‘Chain Link Fence’ and we land at the title track ‘Semicircle Song’. Fun fact: A lot of the instruments were recorded at a distance to recreate that authentic parade/marching band sound. The bridge of steel pans with each band member shouting their name and star sign over it is unfortunately at a bit of a loss, feeling like a meme waiting for ‘Hey I’m Jared, I’m 19 and I never learned how to read’ to crop up (but we’ll not talk about that).
Semicircle is an exploration, it’s like The Go! Team threw a Berocca in their melting pot and came out all the fresher for it. Aforementioned Berocca came in the form of a trip across America capturing the essence of the marching band and northern soul sounds that the band feature so heavily on their fifth studio album. Parton collected vocals from the likes of the Detroit Youth Choir.
Tracks like ‘Hey!’ miss the mark, falling through the gaps of too many genres. There’s the grandeur of a full band backing the song which is too big against the All Saints-like ghosting vocals, especially when there’s little effort to make these parts of the song come together, leaving a jarring effect on the listener.
As we come into the latter half of the album it becomes far easier to just allow the songs to wash over rather than look too deeply. Cuts like ‘All the Way Live’ and ‘If There’s One Thing You Should Know’ take the best of The Go! Team’s live sound and make smooth jams through a fuller sound. Closer ‘Getting Back Up’ is bright number, full of vitality and joy, little additions of glassy chimes show that the Go! Team have kept their attention for detail amongst a chaotic amount instrumentation on Semicircle.
Semicircle was released on January 19th via Memphis Records, if you fancy it give the album a listen here.