Gang of Youths' surprise three-track EP, total serene, comes with a glimpse of their future
The new, surprise-released collection of tracks arrives after sharing their returning single last month.
It's been a big few weeks for Gang of Youths.
Since sharing their last record - 2017's acclaimed Go Farther In Lightness - the Australian heavyweights have become a touring threat both in Australia and internationally, all while picking up their lives and moving to London, where the group have been settled since the same year as Go Farther In Lightness' arrival. With the absence of touring in the last 18 months, Dave Le'aupepe and the band have seemingly been busy writing the follow up to their last record, continuing to tease it throughout the last few months as flickers of new information arrives.
That takes us to the last few weeks, where Gang of Youths have arrived in full force. In the middle of last month, the group returned with the angel of 8th ave., a returning single that positioned Gang of Youths at their classic best, capturing the enchanting energy of the band and the showmanship of their renowned frontman. "His potent and heart-drawing lyricism takes the centre stage of the angel of 8th ave., so if you're after that distinct Gang of Youths charm with devastating lyrics you can scream at the top of your lungs, then this single is going to hit the spot," we said with the single's release.
With the track's release, Dave went a little further to explain their forthcoming material to triple j, teasing that the angel of 8th ave. is an outlier in what's planned to come: "[It's] extremely different or could potentially polarise people," he said. "That’s probably by design. I think we just needed people to hear something initially that was a reminder of what we were… before we took them on this journey that could be polarising, that uses a lot more breadth of musicality and eclecticism as opposed to what we were known for about 6-7 years."
Today, we grapple with a sense of what he was teasing, as Gang of Youths surprise release their new three-track EP, total serene. Including the angel of 8th ave., it's an EP that seemingly builds a bridge between present-day and future Gang of Youths, capturing the heights of the group at their classic selves through songs like the aforementioned lead single, while other songs like unison tease newfound energies, and bring new sounds and textures to the Gang of Youths discography.
Unison is really a high point for the band, and knowing that it's a taste of their future brings tremendous excitement. It's detailed and intricate, with layers of instrumentation enveloping an atmosphere carved by Dave's vocals, which themselves feel evolved when placed comparatively to Go Farther In Lightness. "unison is a deeply important track for us that really signals where the music is headed on the new record," Dave says. "I conceived the song in Samoa, my ancestral homeland. Here we sample and introduce the work of David Fanshawe, who travelled to the Pacific Islands in the 1980s and recorded the most extensive library of indigenous Pacific music anywhere in the world."
The new tracks arrive as Gang of Youths announces shows throughout the UK, with no news on their long-awaited Australian return just yet. total serene will fill the GoY hole in your heart though, and you can take a dive into it below as it arrives today: