Gang of Youths' returning single - the angel of 8th ave. - captures the band at their best
It's the first taste from Dave Le'aupepe since Go Farther In Lightness and it's classic Gangies, but this is only just the start.
Rumours of a Gang of Youths return have been circulating for a little bit now, only accelerating within the last month thanks to a heightened social media presence. It's been a long time coming too, with the group - formerly raised amongst New South Wales, before relocating to London back in 2017 - not releasing a peep since the release of their career-defining second album Go Farther In Lightness four years ago, an album that seemingly, grew better with age (and, for a few years there, constant touring).
As it turns out, all this teasing was for the angel of 8th ave., their first single since 2017 and with it, a taste of what Gang of Youths have been working on in between - as well as what's to come. From the get-go, the angel of 8th ave. is pretty classic Gang of Youths. It's a natural evolution from the work of Go Farther In Lightness and even Magnolia a few years prior, with their devastatingly wonderful frontman Dave Le'aupepe once again showcasing why he's become so revered as one of the country's best frontmen.
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. "It’s about falling in love, and finding a new life in a new city together," puts Dave in a rather simple quote accompanying the single, but its lyrics reveal a deeper connection: "but you are good to me still, and when my old man was near to the end, you loved his broken body, in the same way that I did." Ooft.
As you can maybe guess, the angel of 8th ave. is the first taste of Gang of Youths' forthcoming material, which according to an interview with triple j this morn', welcomes a bit of a curveball to the Gangies discography - this single excluded. It's coming "at some point in the next year or so," Dave told triple j, with a sound that will be "extremely different or could potentially polarise people."
"That’s probably by design,” he goes on to explain. "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.”
The single arrives with a video clip by Joel Barney, filmed amongst their newfound home in North London. It's also the first taste of Gang of Youths since their addition of Tom Hobden, the ex-Noah and the Whale member who has now joined the band full-time, after initially being announced as a new addition last year. "I think it’s been challenging for us, this whole process, but it’s probably going to be good for our music," says bassist Max Dunn. "We’ve gone in a less safe direction and it’s going to be more in line with Dave’s actual vision, rather than Dave pumping something out to get a deadline met."
Watch the video clip below, and stay tuned for more to come: