Over the years, The Go! Team has carved out a niche sound that combines sprightly noise rock melodies with plunderphonics. On The Scene Between, the first Go! Team album in over four years, leader Ian Parton — who wrote, performed, and produced every song here without his bandmates — all but abandons those trademarks. He forgoes the chanty Toni Basil choruses and dance music flourishes for subdued, straightforward indie pop songwriting. As another entry into a fascinating catalog, the record is relatively humdrum and forgettable, with tracks that become hard to tell apart after a few listens. But as a standalone work, The Scene Between is warm and bright, something that would sound great through a car stereo on the way to the beach.
If the record lacks the spunk and originality of past releases, then it more than makes up for it with the breadth of delightful hooks that flow through each song. Opening track and clear standout “What D’You Say?” sounds like the band’s answer to Alvvays’ gorgeous, swooning “Archie, Marry Me”, while “Waking the Jetstream” and its surf rock harmonies could almost pass for a Tennis cut with more of an emphasis on textural noise than guitars.
If there’s any track that sounds distinctly like The Go! Team, it’s “The Art of Getting By (Song for Heaven’s Gate)”, which matches the percussive drive and horn-laden melody of “The Power Is On” — one of the act’s most iconic moments. It’s a song that suggests the band’s original tools are still intact, even if Parton’s new writing approach feels incongruous with them. Nonetheless, The Scene Between is a fine little anomaly. Play it loud as you pine for the warm weather. You can only assume that’s how Parton wants it to be heard anyway.
Essential Tracks: “What D’You Say?”, “The Scene Between”, and “The Art of Getting By (Song for Heaven’s Gate)”