Ever since the first end of year album lists were published in November (and I adopted my grumpy old man face whilst stamping up and down shouting ‘that’s not an end of year list there’s still a bloody month to go’) I’ve been busy scanning them all looking for one particular name. And of the fair amount that I’ve seen by UK and US authors that name is massively conspicuous by its absence. And why am I so certain that it should be on at least some lists? Because if you look at similar lists produced by publications in their homeland of Australia Gang of Youths second album Go Farther In Lightness is everywhere.
Is it really that US / UK critics and fans have such different tastes to our friends down under? I doubt it. I have a feeling that Go Farther in Lightness simply hasn’t had the sort of exposure it deserves here yet and that maybe we're not all quite as interconnected via the web as we're lead to believe. Yet despite the lack of US /UK press adoration the band have a show scheduled for the Forum in Kentish Town, London next May. Hardly a tiny club. Who needs the journalists eh?
So, if you’re reading this and thinking that you’ve never heard of this band or their music, and if you like rock groups such as The National, The Walkmen, Bruce Springsteen, Arcade Fire, a touch of U2, as well as classical music then you really need to seek out Go Farther in Lightness. It’s the greatest rock ‘n’ roll record you haven’t heard yet.
This album is a huge, sprawling double LP that deals in its widest sense with that thing that we call life. It’s hugely ambitious, poignant, raw, reflective, packed with emotion and in Dave Le’aupepe the band not only have a fine front man but someone who isn’t afraid to be beautifully honest. His heart isn't just open but ripped fully exposed and pounding hard. I’ve cried listening to two records this year. Admittedly both times I was incredibly tired and worn out, but those tears gave me life. This is one of those two records I cried to.
The whole of Go Farther in Lightness is so perfectly constructed and curated. From the opening Fear and Trembling, which bears some similarity to Springsteen’s Thunder Road and the belters of What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out and Atlas Drowned through to closing Say Yes To Life (even the titles of these songs give me shivers) this is a record that takes you on a huge sweeping emotional journey that includes beautiful ballads, instrumental string arrangements that give nods to both Guns ‘N’ Roses as well as Phillip Glass, and even slightly groovy adult pop on Let Me Down Easy.
Six months ago I had never heard of Gang of Youths. It was thanks to a Twitter follower / blog reader and now subsequent real-life friend (@areyouokabi) that I discovered them when we took a chance together to go and watch them in a nightclub near where she lives. Now I just can’t stop playing Go Farther in Lightness.
A truly glorious record. A record full of all of the complexities of life. It’s number 3 in my list of favourite albums of 2017.
Gang of Youths - Atlas Drowned
Gang of Youths - The Deepest, Sighs the Frankest Shadows (Video)