Crunchy guitars deliver guttural brutality in Midway, the all new album from Go Time!, but they find themselves cornered by equally strong lyrics that espouse a smart cerebral prose and beg for us to analyze the depth of their narratives a bit more than we normally would. Go Time! have been flying under the radar of most mainstream rock fans for a minute now, but in that time they’ve been quietly building up quite the sterling reputation in the underground and cultivating a signature sound. All of their hard work comes to fruition in this latest disc, which you could make an argument for being their most complete and robustly packaged collection of songs yet.
We begin with the grating “Hard to Pull the Trigger,” and quickly descend into a whirlwind of sonic intensity that doesn’t stop until “No Claims or Pretentions” brings the record to a conclusion. The raw mix is balanced out by a smooth execution from the band in songs like “Disparity,” “Parting Gift,” “Satisfaction” and “Awkward Truth,” demonstrating Go Time!’s knack for controlling chaos, no matter how beastly it may be. Even when they come close to going off the rails entirely with more elastic numbers like “Role Reversal” and “Second Best,” there’s never any question as to who rules over this kingdom of devilishly magnetizing discord.
The music gets harsh in some of the tracks here, namely in the silence-slicing “Every Little Everything” and “Next Time,” but it retains a genuine melodicism that has more in common with retro pop than it does lo-fi noise and experimental rock. The tonality of this record is one of its most alluring qualities, exhibiting one rich texture after another no matter how violent the arrangement of the instrumentation becomes. This puts Go Time! in the same company as pioneers like The Stooges and The Velvet Underground, though their style of play is decidedly more focused and direct than either of those two proto-alternative icons.
I think that Midway benefits just as much from its acrylic master mix as it does from its sharp lyrics which, as previously mentioned, consistently match up well with the brute force of the music that accompanies them. The statement that Go Time! is trying to make with songs like “Best Intentions” and “Ghost Inside of Me” isn’t rooted in the fiery assault of their play alone; they’ve actually got a lot to say here, and their emotions are well-supported by the poetry in their songs.
A captivating addition to their discography and quite possibly one of the most enjoyable rock n’ roll albums of the New Year, Go Time!’s Midway stands on its own as a refreshing shot of adrenaline in an age of lumbering, overweight basslines and unevenly produced attempts at organic tonality. I highly recommend this record to anyone who has fallen under the spell of mainstream media claims that rock is effectively dead in 2019, as it relentlessly proves the opposite to be true. This is an LP that we need right now, and it’s offered up by a band more than deserving of our collective attention.