By Liam Prost
The Go! Team has made some seriously bombastic music over the years, but has always maintained a level of obscurity that keeps any of their tracks from being too sugary to rock out to. From bubblegum pop, to grimy hip-hop, to indie rock, it’s always been big melodies for people who abhor contemporary pop production.
SEMICIRCLE is no exception, a huge record full of compelling vocal melodies, driving rhythms and badass instrumental arrangements. The downside is that the whole record sounds like it’s being performed from the bottom of a well. This production style, which pushes the vocals back in the mix and compressed much of the instrumentation to a similar level, creates an almost marching band like listening experience. Every instrument sounds like it’s in the same room, possibly a high school gymnasium. It’s impressive that a band that has at moments been a rock ensemble can still sound like themselves with so many horns, xylophones and flutes, but the fuzzy production keeps any of the real bangers on the record, like the single “Semicircle Song,” from being that successful. The most effective tracks on the record are the more contained ones, especially the tracks that let Ninja stand out with her gorgeous vocal performance like “Plans Are Like a Dream U Organize.”
It’s hard not to smile your way through SEMICIRCLE, it’s just so much fun, but it doesn’t necessarily reward close listening.Memphis Industries, SEMICIRCLE, The Go! Team