When it comes to second acts, The Go! Team (aka songwriter/musician/producer Ian Parton) seems like a fairly unpromising candidate. The English artist almost single-handedly created one of the best debuts of 2004 with Thunder Lighting Strike! — an infectious confection of deftly placed samples, thundering drums and cheerleader-esque, chanted vocals — but the two albums that followed (not to mention the band he’d formed) served up little more than pale imitations of the debut. Parton went back to the drawing board and has emerged with another mostly solo LP.
It’s a serious reboot: while The Scene Between contains many familiar elements — calliope-like hooks, a chunky bottom end and avalanche drumming — Parton has completely reinvented his songwriting style to include soaring melodies and — gasp! — actual singing (as opposed to chanting or rapping) from a roster of little-known vocalists. Like all Go! Team albums, this one has a certain fast-food element: It all sounds amazing on the first couple of listens, but the wheat (songs like the title track and “Did You Know?”) separates quickly from the chaff. Regardless, The Scene Between opens up a whole new lane for an artist that would have been easy to write off.
This story will appear in the March 28 issue of Billboard.