EMF – Go Go Sapiens – Review

Dr Strangelove's opening line of “Don’t call it a comeback” and many of the lyrics making it clear this isn’t a cash-grab, but a labour of love....

Label: Independent

Genre: Dance-Rock

Release Date: April 1st 2022

Track Listing:

Started It

Sister Sandinista

Stay Classy San Diego

Crime of Passion

We Are The Free


Keep It Coming

Never Die

Dr. Strangelove

The Greatest Day

Sparks and Flashes


James Atkin, vocals

Ian Dench, guitar

Derry Brownson, keyboards, samples, programming

Stevey Marsh, bass

Aid Todd, drums

EMF are a British dance-rock quintet formed in Cinderford, England in October 1989. All five original members were veterans of the local music scene before founding EMF, whose name supposedly stood for “Epsom Mad Funkers” (although it was widely speculated that the initials instead represented “Ecstasy Mother Fuckers”).

It’s been almost 27 years since EMFs last full album, Cha Cha Cha. Has their new album Go Go Sapiens been worth the wait? It really has. It’s an album that celebrates the bands past, while finding new ways to fuse rock, pop, dance and samples into songs that sound new.

The album opens with the aptly titled Starting It, showcasing Ian’s guitar and James’ love of dance music, making it clear this is an EMF album. Throughout the record, the band are very good at pulling on the different sounds to showcase each song in the best way.

Lead single Sister Sandinista is a almost surf guitar driven song that is more of a departure for the band, exploring new territories while still being incredibly catchy. After a few listens, the song quickly gets stuck in your head, giving you a long term ear-worm!

Stay Classy San Diego is a perfectly crafted song for the summer. It makes you feel like you are driving through California, with the hood down enjoying the sun. The theme song Ron Burgundy never had for Anchorman!

Crime Of Passion is a real standout of the album, drawing from the dance led songs from their past. James’ vocals in the chorus really soar on the chorus. It’s an unexpected approach, that really lifts the song, and just one of many times through the album where the band try new approaches.

The album showcases a broad range of styles. From the low key, groove led We Are The Free to dance led numbers such as Equilibrium. Exploring these different avenues means that the album reveals new things on each listen.

The band have self produced the album, and are self releasing it through their Bandcamp. The slightly lo-Fi sound makes it sound like a real band playing throughout, playing because they enjoy it.

Their love of playing and making music is clear throughout the album. Keep It Coming is a love letter to artists old and new that excite the band, such as the Ramones, the Beatles and Royal Blood. Musically, it wouldn’t have been out of place on their 1992 Stigma album, and will fit in perfectly in the bands live shows.

Never Die almost feels like a statement of intent. The band wont be giving up at any point soon. They love making music, and will continue to do so as long as they can. This enthusiasm permeates the album and really adds to the listening experience.

Dr. Strangelove harks back to Shubert Dip, full of samples and dance hooks. It’s opening line of “Don’t call it a comeback” and many of the lyrics making it clear this isn’t a cash-grab, but a labour of love.

The albums penultimate song Greatest Day slows things down. Featuring just Ian on guitar and James singing. It allows the listener to take a breath, before the final track; Sparks and Flashes kicks things up a gear, ending the album with a bang. It’s a euphoric song that elevates the listener.

In summary, the album is full of great songs, pulling on the strengths of rock, pop and dance, while giving a nod to the band’s past. It reveals more of itself on each listen, and you’ll find yourself putting the album back on again, as soon as the album finishes. It sounds like no other band but EMF, and is very much recommended.

Score 9/10

Reviewed by: Ben Pollard Mathias

EMF tour dates

Venue 2, 229 ClubLondon, UK
Bedford EsquiresBedford, UK
The FleeceBristol, UK
The ParishHuddersfield, UK

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