GANG OF YOUTHS Go Farther In Lightness gets 8.5/10

Gang Of Youths
Go Farther In Lightness
Sony

8.5/10

We have a lot to thank Sydney for; Bridges, Beaches and Opera Houses are up there, but this time round we have to extend a cheery nod of much appreciation for another beautifully raw album from Gang of Youths. Go Farther In Lightness, promises a great deal and delivers ten-fold. A high energy medley of rough, Springsteen-esque vocals from Dave Le’aupepe complimented by fast-paced guitar work and lush intervals of soothing, melancholic strings make this album outstanding. It’s going to be there for you, for any occasion, and with such a bounty of tracks to choose from, there’s going to be a few that are guaranteed to make it to your playlist.

Fear and Trembling, the first track on the album, gently eases you into the adventure that is Go Farther In Lightness, with a soothing and well produced piano intro that helps to set the mood for Le’aupepe’s ever-rich, mature vocals.

What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out? was the first single to be released off the album. This fast-paced, energetic track, really cuts through with its borderline frantic drum track and guitar trills that are somewhat reminiscent of the likes of Bloc Party. Arguably a great opening track for a festival, or one to be played with good friends and great wine.

Another single released from the album, Atlas Drowned wastes no time rewarding you with the deep resonance from Donnie Borzestowski’s drums. The well produced kit is brought to the forefront at the start of the track, making the perfect bedrock for the rest of the band to tantalise the senses. Strong “road trip” vibes make it easy to envisage warm summer adventures to this song.

Keep Me In the Open brings the mood down a little with a dreamy intro that allows a moment to find your thoughts and appreciate what Gang of Youths have delivered here. The rich, piano-accompanied vocals provide a welcome melancholy that even the likes of The National would admire. There’s even an empathic honesty to the lyrics to match.

A quarter-way into the album, L’imaginaire serves us a soothing string arrangement that makes for a relaxing prelude to Do Not Let Your Spirit Wane, which, at over seven minutes long is a delicious beast of a track that slowly builds to a musical crescendo that delivers that unique Gang of Youths energy.

Albeit a short track, Go Farther In Lightness can be described as a Sydney street gospel song which deservedly provides the album its name. Whilst short; the song speaks volumes about the band, their music and the city they’re from.

Achilles Come Down is a remarkable track that is best delivered through a quality, immersive set of headphones. The decision to include what is primarily an orchestral track is brave and rewarding. The natural sound of the cello compliments Le’aupepe’s raw sounding vocals exquisitely, and whilst the song is in an unconventional time signature, it only serves to make Achilles Come Down stand out even further and showcase the band’s musical capabilities.

Persevere lightly steps into the melancholy once more, providing a relaxing musical environment to unwind in. The soulful vocals and stripped back melodies create a subdued feel that is a far cry from the effervescence of the first opening tracks.

The diversity of the instrumental breaks in this album make tracks like Le symbolique really stand out; offering a respite from the high energy songs and acting as a binding to make the whole album completely repeat-worthy. The use of strings and orchestral tangents compliment the album greatly and give it a versatility and longevity that appeals.

Let Me Down Easy follows on beautifully from Le Symbolique, the upbeat tempo and catchy hook making it an instantly distinctive ‘festival banger’, which any crowd would love. The distinctive oriental sound only serves to cement the song’s uniqueness.

The Heart Is a Muscle begins on a forlorn note and slowly evolves into a hope inspiring song with uplifting horns that is perfect for repairing a broken heart. At this point the whole album begins to adopt the feel of a relationship that’s been loved and lost, with The Heart Is a Muscle being the light at the end of the tunnel.

Le réel carries with it that same feel of hope and aspiration from the previous track. Being the third purely instrumental piece that comfortably segments the album, acting as a chapter in the story. The use of strings and their composition throughout the album only goes to demonstrate the versatility and musical abilities of Gang Of Youths.

The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows starts as a reflective and wistful song that expands into an energetic and vigorous melody that furthermore exhibits the Gang Of Youths indomitable spirit and vibrancy.

The acoustic guitar in Our Time Is Short is welcome to the ear, and given the use of strings throughout the album the guitar really stands out. The sombre overtones in Our Time Is Short is reinforced by the lyrics: “let’s drink the best wine now, while we are strong and we are proud,until lightning strikes us down” adding to the sobering tone of the song. The backing vocals are enjoyably akin to Hozier and make the whole song feel as though it wouldn’t be lost on a movie soundtrack, somewhere.

The sixteenth and final track on the album; Say Yes to Life revels in a slow building intro that gently intensifies into an invigorating, euphoric, toe tapping song that leaves you with a bright sense of encouragement, new beginnings and an overwhelming desire to experience the album for a second time.

SIMON TUBEY

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