Posts Tagged ‘Go Farther in Lightness’

It took me just 37 seconds to realise how great Gang Of Youths when they released their second studio album,album “Go Farther In Lightness” was.  that it would be the album of the year. This album was a game-changer for me and this band. With a nod towards the optimism and kindness the band have found by surviving their various ordeals, this record continues the work that has already so indelibly imprinted on fans across the world. Go Farther In Lightness bears the scars of the band’s painful history, flashing their wounds with the same candor as The Positions but seeking to draw new lessons from their struggle to endure. Attempting to compartmentalise the past five years into 16 tracks is no mean feat, but the band come away with songs which encourage listeners to persevere as they’ve tried to, empathising with those who’ve brushed up against death, suffering and loss every step of the way.

Before Go Farther In Lightness, I hadn’t really paid Gang Of Youths a whole lot of attention but as soon as I heard the opening lines of Fear & Trembling and Dave Le’aupepe’s vocals I knew they were a band for me. At the album’s heart though, it’s Le’aupepe’s candour that draws listeners in and holds them tight. This is the type of music that makes you want to keep living. Even when you feel like all hope is lost.

“Go Farther In Lightness” will also prove that frontman Dave Le’aupepe as one of Australia’s foremost songwriters” and it’s a sentiment I stand by. It’s also become very apparent given the attention the group have received since the album’s August 2017 release. Foo Fighters and Mumford & Sons don’t pick you as stadium tour supports without good reason, you know? Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz also called them the “best fucking band in the world right now”.

This an album of earnest, honest and vivid lyricism from Le’aupepe, paired with striking and varied arrangements from guitarist Joji Malani, keyboardist Jung Kim, bass player Max Dunn and drummer Donnie Borzestowski that draw on everything from Bruce Springsteen to classical music.

”The whole point of Go Farther In Lightness was to make, and is to make, the arc of my life, more or less, about the process of repairing, the process of being more human, more empathic, more authentic to myself, more aware of the people around me, more aware of the world. To open myself back up to love and back up to life and try to negate the things in me that are life negating.”

Last year they broke venue records in Australia with their epic Say Yes To Life tour, which saw 21 shows, the launch of their own festival and thousands of people in attendance.

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Australian band Gang of Youths have been getting both critical and commercial acclaim Down Under with an absolutely fantastic second album, ‘Go Farther In Lightness’, leading them to sell out pretty much every venue they play in Oz. for some reason their success doesn’t seem to have reciprocated over here in the UK akin to how successful DMAs have been, but recent radio play for their single ‘Let Me Down Easy’ is sure to bring them to the attention of the wider public.

The first music I heard after landing in Austin was a cascade of metallic-guitar harmonics, cut into declarative power chords and shot over breakneck hard rock as if Mogwai had taken off at the speed of Blue Öyster Cult. Then singer-guitarist David Le’aupepe took the noise to a higher plane of debate with his earnest, preacher’s cry in “What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out,” an anthemic knockout from Go Farther in Lightness, Gang of Youths’ second album and an award-winner in their native Australia last year. The band was founded in 2012 in Sydney, where members were attending an evangelical church, and there was an air of the early, brazen U2 in “Atlas Drowned” and “Just Say Yes to Life” – but with more guitar-drums bedlam, razing feedback and sly classic-rock touches like guitarist Joji Milan’s Queen-like skids in the latter song. Gang of Youths played another, longer set the next evening, opening up their songbook and spreading the firepower. But there was a striking sense of hurry and mission to their four-song day-party blitz at Sidewinder, as if their lives and our spiritual fates depended on the connection. Le’aupepe introduced “Just Say Yes to Life,” with a reference to his father, who is ill with cancer. The singer spoke about the fear of impending loss and the inspirational lesson that has come with it. “He lived a life and said yes,” Le’aupepe declared. “So don’t fuck around. Just say yes.” The music followed with affirming force.

Music video by Gang of Youths performing Let Me Down Easy (Audio). (C) 2017 Mosy Recordings under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment Australia Pty Ltd

How to follow a debut album about cancer, which established your band as one of Australia’s most important? By crafting a near-80 minute opus split into three parts, each separated by grand orchestral interludes that take their titles from the psychoanalytic concepts of French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan, that’s how. Frontman and songwriter David Le’aupepe has never been one to shy away from the grandiose, and so it is that Gangs’ second album wears its heart well and truly on its sleeve, moving from the widescreen Springsteen-esque storytelling of opener “Fear and Trembling” to the dense, string-laden ruminations of “Achilles Come Down” and the heartbreaking “Persevere”. It’s the ARIA Album of the Year for a reason.

Go Farther In Lightness deserves to be ranked with the very finest rock albums of 2017, no matter the country. Released in August — in the midst of ho-hum duds by North American arena-rock acts such as Arcade Fire and Foo Fighters  Go Farther In Lightness stands as one of the year’s most exhilarating “big” guitar-rock albums, delivering anthem after heart-busting anthem with a potent combination of instrumental muscle, lyrical insight, and Le’aupepe’s impassioned vocals.

Go Farther In Lightness extends beyond just the expansive tracklist, which clocks in at nearly 80 minutes over 16 songs. It is also baked directly into Gang Of Youth’s aesthetic, which balances furiously uplifting basement-show ragers like “What Can I Do If A Fire Goes Out?,” one of the year’s best and most immediate rock singles, with orchestral flourishes like “Achilles Comes Down,” a stunning “Eleanor Rigby”-style ballad scored for a string quartet by Le’aupepe himself.

The grand music suits Le’aupepe’s sweeping lyrics, which weigh heavy philosophical questions about the meaning of life, death, and conservative icon Ayn Rand, whom he despises, among other topics. When asked about the influences on Go Farther In Lightness in a recent interview, Le’aupepe listed a virtual syllabus: Martin Heidegger’s Being And Time, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being by Milan Kundera, lots of Nietzsche.

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“Go Farther in Lightness” earned Gang of Youths a whopping four ARIA awards in their native Australia but largely fell on deaf American ears and the rest of the World, which is strange considering it sounds like a Girl Talk-style mash-up album of every indie rock band thats been popular over the last decade. Over 77 minutes long , the record packs in a healthy mix of the Gaslight Anthem, the Walkmen, and its most obvious comparison, the National. The band breaks into a Springsteen stride by the second track, which sees frontman David Le’aupepe questioning his Christian faith, and from there they never break their pace. It’s odd to describe an album that debuted at number one in Australia as “overlooked,” the rest of us has some serious catching up to do.

Everything from modern Czech authors to ancient Greek mythology gets a liner note reference, but it’s the heartland rock scale-shift from grandiose (“a sky full of light”) to personal (“I am grieving the loss of myself”) that makes this a standout on the best Aussie album of the year. “The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows” is from the New Album “Go Farther in Lightness”

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