Graphics by Ainsley Basic
By Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator
Fans have been long awaiting new music from the Australian indie-rock group Gang of Youths. There was talk of a third studio album in early 2020, but with the pandemic, it became unclear if and when the band would make a release. Then came the single “The Angel of 8th Ave.,” showing off a revitalized sound and energy. Exactly a month later, it was joined by two other songs and put out as the surprise EP Total Serene. While not a full album, the EP and especially catchy lead release “The Angel of 8th Ave.,” offer plenty to dive into.
DIVING INTO THE LYRICS AND SOUND OF “THE ANGEL OF 8TH AVE.”
“The Angel of 8th Ave.” has an infectious exciting atmosphere and catchy lyrics. Talking on Radio X, lead singer David Le’aupepe said he wanted to “go back to a place that felt innocent” with the song. This feeling is captured both sonically and lyrically. Using just three guitar chords and a repetitive bass line and drumbeat, the instrumentation is energetic yet simple. Through the lyrics, Le’aupepe sings about falling in love and finding his way in a new city. “I wanna lay me down, and be lovеr of the year, in this strange new town,” he sings.
“The Angel of 8th Ave.” references a few spots around London, where the Australian-formed band recently moved. And while it alludes to experiences Le’aupepe had with his wife, the love-filled lyrics can easily resonate with anyone. It closes out repeating, “there’s heaven in you now,” as his vocals grow raspier and the instrumentation dials up.
THE REST OF THE EP AND WHAT MAY BE TO COME
The second track of the EP sees Gang of Youths take on “Asleep in the Back,” a 2002 song from U.K. rock band The Elbows. The slow and sweet cover is followed by “Unison.”
“‘Unison’ is a deeply important track for us that really signals where the music is headed on the new record,” lead singer David Le’aupepe said about the final song on Total Serene. Le’aupepe developed the basis of the song while in Samoa, his ancestral homeland. It features samples of David Fanshawe’s library of recordings of Indigenous Pasifika music from the late 1970s. The samples add layers of energy and emotion to “Union”’s powerful ending.
On the day of the EP’s unexpected release, Gang of Youths posted a handwritten note to their Instagram, apologizing to fans for the long wait. They also tease that their highly-anticipated third studio album may be finally on the way, writing “more to come though, so don’t worry.”
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