Australian indie-rock group Gang Of Youths have recently unveiled their latest EP, Let Me Be Clear, following the bands 2015 debut album, The Positions. Their debut left everything bare and exposed, exploring such sensitive and soul crushing topics as cancer, separation, and attempts at suicide; these being experienced by lead singer-songwriter Dave Le’aupepe, who’s wife (that he has since separated from) had suffered from Melanoma.
Let Me Be Clear could be defined as the closing chapter to an otherwise finished story (that had been told in The Positions), as can be heard in final (bonus) track, Both Sides Now, which starts and ends in a very live performance Jeff Buckley-esque way. With the sounds of (presumably Dave) walking in before starting the track, and the sound of (again presumably Dave) walking out at the end of the track, being intentionally included as a sort of send-off giving it all a sense of closure if you will. The in between of those moments can also be described as Gang Of Youths very own Hallelujah, in the style of Jeff Buckley, with its poignant lyricism, quavering vocal, and simplistic structure, with literally just a guitar being played. It’s raw and vulnerable through and through, no bells and whistles, just pure emotion.
With most songs not taking a formal structure, timing, or arrangement wise (in a similar way to The Positions), it rounds up the debut album’s storyline. The opening, The Good Fight, presents as an evocative ballad. At first with piano leading the way for the first minute before strings are introduced into the mix, with layers being added as you listen along. After the 4:40 mark it turns into a distorted electric fast paced speak-sing chaos. “The way that things are going now/I won’t find a place to keep our clothes” is the first line of this song. It instantly sets the tone for the album and invites an intimate look into a private relationship. From the get-go, you’re invited in until the very last moment where you literally hear the walking out in Both Sides Now.
Strange Diseases and Native Tongue are the perfect kinds of additions that make you aware of why the Gang Of Youths was invited to perform at this year’s ‘Splendour In The Grass’. With Strange Diseases, ravenous and thriving in nature and Native Tongue bleeding out with machine gun drum beats and roughening electric during the chorus, and rhythmic acoustic guitars during the verses.
Let Me Be Clear cannot be any more clear; at each end there is a new beginning and Gang Of Youths has a lot more to learn and say yet. This is a space to watch and listen.