The Go! Team have always been cheerleaders for a better world - an outpouring of collective joy in the face of small-mindedness and dismal careerism. They rejoice in the unifying urges and the chance encounters between cultures that lead to something new. They're a band that still has faith in the power of music to make things better. We need The Go! Team now more than ever. Ian had the idea of a school marching band gone rogue, chucking away their sheet music to blast out Northern soul stompers or Japanese indie-pop swooners or old-school hip-hop jams. "I like the swing and the toughness of marching bands, the physicality of feeling a beater walloping a bass drum," explains Ian, "but I wanted to reclaim them from patriotic or sporty associations. That was the kick-off for this record." But his extensive sample library could only take him so far. To fully realise his vision, he knew he had to reach out and entice a group of unlikely new collaborators into the Go! Team fold. So Ian made a pilgrimage to Detroit - city of Motown and The Stooges, of musical (and actual) revolution - where he hooked up with The Detroit Youth Choir. Their age was key; he didn't want kids (too twee), but he didn't want adults either, with all their emotional baggage and wariness and tendency to over sing. He also wanted to avoid the religious connotations of a church or gospel choir. "I've always had a thing for gang vocals and group singing, particularly the roughness of community choirs," says Ian. "Normally they might be singing show tunes or whatever, but I like the idea of getting people to do something they wouldn't normally do. I like making things happen that wouldn't otherwise happen. It's always a gamble, but in this case it paid off." These inspiring sessions began to define the album. The choir's ebullient chanting is all over the opening track "Mayday," a morse-code-inspired soul belter about a love emergency, in the proud lineage of "Rescue Me" and "SOS." They bring the album to a rousing, defiant conclusion on "Getting Back Up." In between, they reveal a little more about themselves on the heart warming "Semicircle Song." When Ian needed a lo-fi R&B vocal for "Chain Link Fence" - kooky and soulful but not slick or drenched in melisma - he approached a Detroit high school. "I love the idea of recording people who wouldn't think of themselves as singers, who perhaps have never been recorded before." In keeping with the album's marching band theme, Ian stacked up sousaphones, glockenspiels and steel drums, 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. "It's recognisable as a Go! Team record but it takes the sound to a new place."
2. Chain Link Fence
3. Semicircle Song
5. The Answer's No - Now What's the Question?
6. Chico's Radical Decade
7. All the Way Live
8. If There's One Thing You Should Know
9. Tangerine / Satsuma / Clementine
10. She's Got Guns
11. Plans Are Like a Dream U Organise
12. Getting Back Up