Gang Of Youths have conquered a considerable amount of demons since the release of their first album back in 2015. The struggles they have faced couldn’t break their spirit, and now the Aussie five-piece return with Go Farther Into Lightness, a refusal to pity the hands they have been dealt in life.
Bearing the scars from the painful history of each individual member, this record is one to persevere with and will no doubt strike a chord with those who know the pain of loss. Fear And Trembling is a Hallelujah for the alt-rock generation, frontman David Le’aupepe laying his spirit bare straight from the off. As the tempo builds; so to does the positivity, and the rousing drums welcome you into the fold of those who have struggled but will ultimately succeed.
What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out questions the strength of the human spirit when it feels like there is simply nothing left, a rallying call to arms that will provide comfort to the lives of many. It’s frantic, it’s a bit of a cacophony but it’s a comforting chaos. Le’aepepe sings about his “savage desire” to thrive in event of adversity, and once you learn of the struggles he has faced – the sentiment only strikes more of a chord. With all of the hard hitting subject matter dressed up in punchy yet emotive tracks, instrumental breaks like L’imaginaire are breaths of fresh air. I always bemoan the inclusion of instrumentals for disrupting the overall themes of many records – yet Gang Of Youths have merely strengthened their narrative through them.
On the titular track, Gang Of Youths draw influence from confessional songwriting greats such as Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen; bringing their own style to a much flogged horse. There is nothing contrived about the messages conveyed here, it’s clear the band genuinely wish to spread love and light in this troubled world. Uplifting strings usher in the start of Let Me Down Easy, which sees Gang Of Youths giving The Gaslight Anthem a run for their money. Whilst the vocals are great, constantly they fall just shy of propelling this track to it’s full potential as a run away rock anthem. Gang Of Youths convey their strength through subtlety, but it would be amazing if they could release some more oomph.
The Deepest Sighs The Frankest Shadows is a contender for best track here, it feels as though the thought process of the entire band is being tracked collectively into a sonic diary. Building to the powerful crescendo that I have been craving on all previous tracks, it shows they do have it in them to truly unleash themselves! It took them until track number 14 to really let go, but all is forgiven when the result is as delightful as this. The imagery is warm and recalls those hazy days of falling in love that will never sour even with time.
Ending the album are two powerful statements; Our Time Is Short and Say Yes To Life, which when read as a pair perfectly sum up the mission statement for Gang Of Youths. It all might get a bit too much sometimes, but there is a comforting presence in this band and this record that might drown out the excessive nothingness even if for just a little while. The closer has strings made for spurring on positivity and the familiar tones of Le’aupepe which reach out and encourage you to “go be part of the new sensation” and cast aside preconceptions others may have about you.
Go Farther Into Lightness is a hard-hitting record that doesn’t fall into the trap of becoming too dark and pitiful, instead there is positivity radiating out of its every fibre. The current underpinning this entire album is one of letting people know it’s ok to suffer and struggle in silence, but that help will always be at hand. Mental health stigma remains one of the biggest taboos society faces, but it is albums like this that are helping to keep people alive and give them a cathartic release for their pain.