Los Angeles – The elusive Australian rock act Gang of Youths have been releasing incredible singles over the past few years. Their brooding, anthem-driven melodies are irresistibly captivating to say the very least. After honing their craft during this stretch of time, the quintet has finally assembled enough tunes for a full-length release. The Positions features ten deeply harrowing tracks that are intensely cathartic. Lead singer David Le’aupepe originally envisioned this project as a solo endeavor chronicling his turbulent relationship with a woman battling terminal cancer. His concept, as grand as it was, turned into a full fledge band with a driving force that is virtually unparalleled.
The Positions is a work of art from long-time friends David Le’aupepe, Joji Malani, Jung Kim, and Max Dunn that pushes emotive indie rock to new heights. Gang of Youths’ debut LP is something exceptional that easily differentiates itself from the pack as it covers many themes, from the cautious tales of distress and anguish to the search of hope and contentment. Largely expansive and starkly intimate, the average track length from The Positions is roughly six minutes. This is no ordinary rock album from a not-so-ordinary band.
The nearly seven-and-a-half minute “Vital Signs” is the triumphant opener. It continues to build momentum throughout its lengthy course. It features heavily layered guitars and heart pounding drums. Le’aupepe sings fervently with his crooning vocals. The single from late 2014, “Poison Drum,” is fearless in its delivery. Not too many bands would release a six-and-a-half-minute single, then again not too many bands are like Gang of Youths. The structure of the song is relentlessly intense as it is performed in such a deft manner that will surely stir up the listener.
After being rattled up by “Poison Drum,” the third track, “The Diving Bell,” is the most powerful song off the record. The potency is matchless as this purely anthemic track speaks to those disenchanted and clinging onto whatever hopefulness is left. While it may rattle your bones, it is performed effectively peacefully. “Restraint & Release” converts guitars and synths into a compelling arrangement. There’s a sense of rebellion to be discovered. It’s sparked by a youthful exuberance that will strike a chord with adolescents. “Magnolia” is beautifully executed and serves as the most pop compelled track off The Positions. Once again, Le’aupepe’s lively vocals serve as the centerpiece, but the music never plays second fiddle. The structure is fast-paced with tightly performed thumping drums, 80s bass, and soaring guitars. “Kansas” is greatly significant in lyricism while featuring violins and immense vocals. It displays a directional shift in sound for a band with incredible talents.
“Radioface” was released last month when the band first announced The Positions. It’s another epic tune closing in at nearly seven minutes in length. “Radioface” is Gang of Youths firing on all cylinders. It’s audacious, stunning, and compelling in all aspects. Le’aupepe’s vocals are radiating with confidence and the band’s vast soundscape is something to marvel at. “The Overpass” closes out this entirely ambitious record. It’s a towering track that bleeds with so much sentiment from an exceptionally self-assured young rock band. It’s a broodingly menacing piece of music while also charging up the listener. It’s abundantly evident these guys are performing on a totally different level than their peers. For a record so deep in thought, so utterly pensive, you’ll find yourself ready to take on anything in your way after listening to the album from beginning to end.
The Positions will haunt you, but console you. It will strike up fears and anxiety, but pacify your worries. It will paint a picture of darkness, yet also is capable of shedding lightness. Most of all, it will provide the listener with hope and that’s the greatest achievement it can offer.
The Positions by Gang of Youths will be out on April 17 via Mosy Recordings/Sony Music Australia. They’ve just announced a slew of May tour dates back home.
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