Unlike The Go! Team's 2015 effort The Scene Between – which was essentially a solo project that followed the dissolution of the previous line-up – Semicircle finds leader Ian Parton collaborating with current live players Simone Odaranile (drums) and Angela ‘Maki' Won-Yin Mak (vocals), as well as two original members, guitarist Sam Dook and rapper Ninja. Annelotte de Graaf (aka Amber Arcades), previous collaborator Julie Margat (aka Lispector), and a crew of unexpected musicians feature throughout.
In keeping with the marching band theme of ebullient, heart-warming lead single "Semicircle Song," Ian stacked up sousaphones, glockenspiels and steel drums throughout the album, mic'ing them all from a distance to recreate that gymnasium sound. The effect is a kaleidoscopic cacophony, almost as if the sound itself is bent and refracted in the metallic curves of a trumpet; comforting and intoxicating at the same time.
Ian is keen to emphasize that the vibrant utopia he and his cohorts have conjured up on their fifth album is not an escapist fantasy but a potentially achievable goal. "It's about reminding yourself of the good things in life," he says. "We don't want to be dumbly optimistic and say, ‘Hey, isn't everything great!' but there's something to be said for just getting on with it, for getting organised and not letting the fuckers get you down. Party for your right to fight!"