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Escape to summer with The Go! Team’s ‘The Scene Between’

| Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The year is 2015. You’re a college kid, bright, young, somewhat attractive — somewhere between a seven and an eight point five, you reckon — and ready to see the world. Oh, but what’s this? Homework? Family problems? Reposts on Yik Yak? Inevitable unemployment and student loans courtesy of your English major? Just when you’ve got the hang of living the college dream, ‘real life’ gets smack in the way. You have to do laundry and stuff. You’re put in the friend zone so often you memorize the patterns on its carpet. The squirrels pretend they don’t know you. It’s times like these you dream of the mountains and the country and the beach: summer vacation.

But then you get to summer vacation, and there’s real life there too. The mountains have bugs. The country has, well, too much country. And the beach? Annoying drunk guys and jellyfish and screaming kids and that creepy grandma who keeps looking at your butt. Come on, where was the summer you were promised? The vacations that you dreamed of, the good old times you remember? Why did ‘real life’ ever have to start in the first place?

The Go! Team, aka singer/songwriter/producer Ian Parton and his band of merry instrumentalists, craft the sort of music that can trick you into believing that summer is a magical time where nothing bad ever happens. Their latest record, “The Scene Between,” flashes and burns with bursts of beach-y melodies and sing-a-long ready choruses. In a year already boasting a number of weighty musical masterpieces like “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “Carrie & Lowell,” “The Scene Between” stands out because it’s not at all concerned with being the album of the year, yet seems to be a contender for the spot anyway. It’s bright, fizzy and happy beyond compare and yet completely avoids being annoying or cheesy.

Yet there’s far more going on than meets the eye on “The Scene Between.” Almost every track is helmed by a different female singer, and yet a signature style ties the record together, making it incredibly cohesive. Even after several listens, I failed to notice the songs were being sung by different people. The Go! Team simply boasts a remarkably fun and cohesive songwriting and production style that is at once extremely accessible and uniquely lo-fi. It’s part of what makes “The Scene Between” such a blissful summer record — it seems to hail from an earlier, brighter era. The light sheen of distortion enveloping the guitars, tambourines, steel drums and more on the record casts it in a sepia shade of nostalgia. Yet the originality of the melodies that anchor each track and the cluttered, impactful percussion samples help the record seem simultaneously like a new discovery and a throwback.

2015 is proving to be one of the best years for music so far this decade, churning out excellent records in nearly every genre. “The Scene Between” is a masterfully written, remarkably fun record that should be at the forefront of your summer playlist. The Go! Team have managed to make their shoe-gazey, summer-hazey brand of indie rock seem like top-40 tunes based on the strength of songwriting alone. From the driving beach-avenue harmonies on “Her Last Wave” to the lemonade-infused guitar lines on “Waking the Jetstream” and finally the bittersweet farewell of “Reason Left to Destroy,” “The Scene Between” presents the strongest set of pop songs since Taylor Swift’s “1989,” drenched in sun-drenched guitar amp fuzz. A slice of paradise in the midst of long library hours or the monotony of a summer job, “The Scene Between” is a fantastic and rewarding way to escape the ‘real world,’ if only for a little while.

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