WHEN Ian Parton released his first album as The Go! Team, the alternative music scene was full of tight trousers, sharp haircuts and angular riffs.

It was no wonder that 2003’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike was received so warmly – its rich diversity was in stark contrast to the kind of two-dimensional guitar sound so many of Parton’s contemporaries were peddling.

“It was a reaction against that NME skinny jean brigade, that boys’ club,” says Parton ahead of The Go! Team’s new, fifth album Semicircle hitting the shops next Friday. “I was trying to make things a bit cheekier, a bit more female-orientated.”

Parton is referring to the roster of contributors and session musicians that have helped bring his ideas to life over the years, many of whom are woman. His most enduring collaborator is Ninja, the lightning-quick rapper who will join Parton on stage at The Haunt.

When he started The Go! Team, Parton was driven by his own varied music taste. Rather than making a record with a consistent sound and identity, he wanted to merge his influences in a manic, melodic mash-up. Having worked with everyone from hip-hop legend Chuck D to experimental rock band Deerhoof over the years, Parton is adept at finding new ways to animate his songs.

“It was a mission statement,” he says of Thunder, Lightning, Strike, which he created from his flat above Starbucks in Western Road, Hove. “It was like my mind melted down into an album. I never saw a reason why different genres couldn’t co-exist.”

As the songwriter points out, his approach seems to be catching on. It’s more common now for young people to listen to Spotify playlists than buy an album, a trend which seems to be reflected in the way alternative artists make music.

“Indie used to be much more tribal but now it’s common for people to say they like a bit of everything,” says Parton. “The line between pop and underground music is blurred – pop is getting weirder and indie is less relevant. I don’t know what it means.”

Parton’s music taste was also a big factor behind his decision to journey to Detroit in the process of recording Semicircle. The city that gave birth both to the glorious soul of Motown and the raw ferocity of The Stooges was an attractive proposition. While there he teamed up with the Detroit Youth Choir, who ended up featuring heavily on the record (most notably on single Mayday).

“I approached the group because I was after teenagers rather than an adult gospel choir or a kid choir,” says Parton. “I could have done it anywhere but I’d be lying if I said the idea of Detroit didn’t attract me.

“I’m into noisy stuff like Shellac and Fugazi but also the cuter end of things, like Saturday morning cartoons and girl groups. For me, Detroit offered both noise and soul.”

His work with the choir proved to be enlightening and productive. For instance, Parton had a vision of a powerful female spoken-word passage in Mayday. It didn’t take him long to identify the kind of voice he was looking for.

“I asked the choirmaster ‘who are the drama queens in the group?’ It had to be really dramatic. He pointed to this girl who got behind the mic and her voice sounded like the Shangri-Las or something. It had this amazing quality you don’t hear much anymore. I’m a great believer in making things happen like that.”

Detroit has been brought into sharp focus in recent years because of the urban decay that has ravaged the city in the wake of its declining industry. Parton says he doesn’t want to be a “spokesperson” for it but says it’s a “city in transition that had got far too big.”

It’s a struggle to pinpoint too many optimistic records in these modern times but there is a quiet positivity to Semicircle. Parton has said it is about “reminding yourself of the good things in life,” a message very much in keeping with the band’s general ethos. Listening to Parton speak about The Go! Team, it’s clear he sees it less as a musical collective and more as a kind of harmonious social ideal.

“The Go! Team has always had this utopian feel to it,” he says. “It’s never me singing about my life, more about how I would like things to be. It’s a parallel dimension where a lot of good things co-exist.” When pressed on how exactly his band represents some kind of utopia, Parton hesitates a little. “I am conscious of getting into ‘miss world’ territory, when you say you believe children are the future or whatever. It’s hard to articulate but The Go! Team has a kind of socialist, multi-cultural, artistic and colourful feel.”

Parton says that Semicircle was not by any means intended as a polemic response to the times we live in but a certain rebelliousness has crept into the record and the songwriter’s attitude in general.

“A feature of our times is you have to be switched onto news and feel like you’re on top of things,” he says. “But then it’s also good to completely disengage from all that and say, ‘**** them’. You have to create your own reality and do your own thing and say **** that’”.

Parton has been fighting that fight with his music for the best part of two decades. Having always made a living from The Go! Team, he jokes he has never had to “grow up” (although he has now have two children).

It is fair to say the band have never quite hit the heights of their early success, where they bypassed Brighton’s small venues to play Brighton Dome and received plaudits from Pitchfork, NME and influential radio DJ Zane Lowe. A Mercury Prize nomination followed. “I guess we were pretty zeitgeist-y at the time,” shrugs Parton.

There was a point after the touring for the band’s third album Rolling Blackouts when it looked like it could be time up. “There were complications with the line-up, people were going to have babies and stuff like that,” explains Parton, before insisting that he never lost faith in his treasured project. “There was a never a time when I thought, ‘I’ll stop making music’” he adds.

Through the peaks and troughs of their considerable lifespan, The Go! Team have long provided a vibrant alternative to homogenous rock music. As Parton looks ahead to a celebratory hometown gig, he says the best is yet to come.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been tried yet – I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.”

THE GO! TEAM, Concorde 2, Brighton, February 11,  thehauntbrighton.co.uk