Few bands greeted the new millennium with as much pure pizzaz as The Go! Team did when they emerged out of Brighton in 2004. Fronted by mastermind Ian Parton and featuring a rotating cast of members (most notably Ninja, who delivers most of the group’s irresistibly upbeat raps), The Go! Team stood apart from many of their indie-rock peers with their eclectic, overflowing cauldron of influences and sounds, drawing on everything from English big beat to classic film scores to ‘90s college rock to left-field hip-hop. Approaching their craft with the diligence of crate-diggers, The Go! Team’s music channels all the relentless joy of an elementary-school playground, their sing-songy melodies and marching-band exuberance freely mashing together samples and styles until the resulting product feels as if it’s about to burst.
Part of the magic of The Go! Team is how the band is able to stir all their scattered sources of inspiration together into something that feels effortlessly cohesive, their cheer-leading celebration rock sounding as though it were the kind of thing that just always existed in the sunny side of our imagination. But a peek into their influences unveils a wonderland of varying artists and styles, a plane where the Beastie Boys can shoot hoops with Ennio Morricone, and Deerhoof might get caught stealing Pokémon cards from The Prodigy. With their new album, Semicircle, arriving on January 19, we took the opportunity to assemble a roll call of The Go! Team’s many muses, charting the ways that the band has connected the dots between everyone from Happy Mondays to The 5th Dimension, and, in the process, forming a compendium of feel-good music for the ages. One, two, three, GO!!!!