The Go! Team

The Haunt, Pool Valley, Brighton, Saturday, July 4

BACK in 2011 The Go! Team’s Brighton-based founder and chief songwriter Ian Parton suggested the writing might be on the wall for the former Mercury Music Prize nominees.

But fourth album The Scene Between, shows a band in rude health, if anything a little invigorated, with a very melodic and pop-orientated effort, ditching the brass and hip-hop edge in favour of a stronger shoegaze and gospel sound.

Part of this was down to Parton stripping everything away to make the record on his own and focus purely on the songwriting.

“It was nice not having to factor in other people’s opinions,” he says. “Before there was always a part of my brain thinking ‘What will the rest of the band think of this?’

“The Go! Team was turning into a list of things – the horns, Sonic Youth guitars, Bollywood sounds – people didn’t talk about the songwriting.”

The touring band still features Parton with his old Go! Team colleagues vocalist Ninja and guitarist Sam Dook, but has been augmented by three new female members: drummer Simone Odaranile, bassist Cheryl Pinero and guitarist and singer Maki.

“I always knew I would keep doing music, but it was really becoming impossible to carry on in the old line-up,” says Parton. “There were babies and jobs and stuff happening making it impossible to tour. It’s been quite liberating in a way. I didn’t know if I was going to call it The Go! Team for a while, but I’m glad I have kept the name – it means we can keep playing the old stuff like Tornado, and have the power of the brass samples coming out of the PA.”

One element which really comes through on this album is Parton’s interest in early 1990s shoegaze – or rather his love/hate relationship with it – as can be heard on album opener What D’You Say? and highlight Blowtorch.

“I’m obsessed with My Bloody Valentine,” he says. “But I’ve got no interest in Lush or Slowdive the stuff that’s in your face.

“I like to think there’s a dimension of My Bloody Valentine through the whole album – even if it’s really subtle. It comes out on songs like Her Last Wave, which is pretty My Bloody Valentine!”

At the heart of his music is his obsession with melody.

“I walk around singing melodies into my phone all day,” he admits. “I’m really into unusual melodies and catchiness in unobvious ways. Half of me wants to write timeless classic pop songs, and the other half wants to distort it, f*** it up and bury it in the garden.”

Similarly the lyrics come from the melodies Parton creates, rather than some internal singer-songwriterly angst.

“I’ve tried to get away from the singer-songwriter pouring their heart out approach,” he says. “There are too many of those! I’m more interested in putting something new out there.

“Words materialise out of what I’m humming somehow. With the song Did You Know the phrase came, and the job was to flesh out what they didn’t know.

“I never sit down and write a song. I’ve always got this middle eight and it grows outwards from there. It’s really cool when it eventually becomes a song.

“Each song is a product of five different ideas – sometimes they come together quickly, sometimes it takes years. Ladyflash [breakthrough single from 2004 debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike] took ages to write.”

Over the course of four albums he’s proud of the different directions The Go! Team has taken, seeing this album as reclaiming the songwriting end.

“There are so many different kinds of songs we do – from the budget brass band, to the Witchita Lineman style, to the early hip-hop stuff,” he says. “There’s something Go! Team flowing through everything no matter which way we go.

“Often I think I’ve written a song unlike anything we’ve done before – and people say it’s classic Go! Team. I guess it all boils down to an obsession with female vocals and a love of distortion.”

While the last Go! Team album featured contributions from Best Coast vocalist Bethany Cosentino, this album is devoid of well-known names, aside from the massed voices of the London African Gospel Choir.

“I was after bedroom cool voices, people who wouldn’t call themselves a professional singer,” says Parton of his collaborators, who include lesser known names like Samira Winter, Casey Sowa, Doreen Kirchner, Emily Reo and Shi Lu.

“The songs are hard to sing though – they are melodic rollercoasters, so I was trying to track down these singers from around the world. I would send out emails and get tapes back – often it worked first time.

“I worked with the choir on The Running Range on the last album.

“I don’t like it when people over-sing, so I was attracted to the African style of singing – it’s much more direct to the tuneless over-emoting of the Mariah Carey-isms today.

“I love the idea of mixing spacey sounds and gospel vocals. I saw it as a new genre – space gospel.”

Doors 7pm, tickets £15.50. Call 01273 606312.