The release of Gang Of Youths’ recent single “the angel of 8th ave.” felt like the launch of an entirely new band rather than a mere resurrection. Boasting a new sound of cinematic scale and packing a pure emotional punch, the track was praised by Brooklyn Vegan as “instantly satisfying,” while Stereogum raved that it “hits that sweet spot between arena rock and big-tent indie, evoking such touchstones as U2, the War On Drugs and The National in its pursuit of sweeping grandeur.”
On the heels of announcing a U.K. tour, the band continues its forward momentum with today’s surprise release of the new EP total serene. Gang Of Youths’ first body of work since its four-time ARIA Award-winning second album Go Farther In Lightness, the EP is led by the new single “unison.”
“unison” signposts Gang Of Youths’ future with its intricately detailed production, extending the core band sound with layers of brass, banjo, programmed beats and samples of David Fanshawe’s influential documentation of indigenous Pacific music. At the same time, it feels natural and uncluttered — an unlikely blend that allows it to soar to a moving crescendo.
“unison” unites the themes established by the EP’s other two songs. It’s a celebration of love’s salvation, but in the hands of frontman David Le’aupepe, it’s more nuanced, touching upon how current circumstances are influenced by both our heritage and sheer chance.
He says, “‘unison’ is a deeply important track for us that really signals where the music is headed on the new record. I conceived the song in Samoa, my ancestral homeland. Here we sample and introduce the work of David Fanshawe, who travelled to the Pacific Islands in the 1980s and recorded the most extensive library of indigenous Pacific music anywhere in the world.”
Gang Of Youths explores a different aspect of its Anglophile music tastes on the EP’s other new track, a cover of Elbow’s 2002 classic “asleep in the back.” The song’s poetic exploration of bravely exposing your frailties and foibles to a new love feels like a natural extension to the story that Le’aupepe depicted in “the angel of 8th ave.”
“We love Elbow and we thought it was thematically relevant,” he says. “It couldn’t have been anything other than ‘Asleep in the Back’.”
The band – completed by Max Dunn (bass), Jung Kim (guitar, keyboards), Donnie Borzestowski (drums) and Tom Hobden (keyboards, guitar, violin) – produced the total serene EP itself in its own studio space in London. The title references the headspace that Le’aupepe has craved for his entire life – something which, whether we realize it or not, is a universal human desire.
Since relocating to London in 2017, Gang of Youths has consistently scaled up the city’s live circuit by progressing from grassroots venues steadily growing their UK audience due to the power of their live performances which now command concert halls and theatres. In addition to upcoming headline shows and festivals, the band is also confirmed to join Sam Fender’s upcoming arena tour. GOY have announced their own headline tour of the UK for August and September 2021. Click here for details. The band’s ever-growing and ardent US audience can expect tour dates to be revealed shortly.