Australian rock band Gang of Youths will be releasing their third studio album this upcoming Friday, titled “Angel in’’ and the Badger Herald has gotten an early access copy of the album to provide a review before it is released to the public.
This album comes off the heels of the three-song EP Gang of Youths released last July. All these songs will be in the album along with ten other songs.
This album is about the death of lead singer Dave Le’aupepe’s father. Not only does Le’aupepe reflect on the impact of his father’s death, but also on the knowledge he’s learned since his death Le’aupepe that his father lied about his heritage.
Le’aupepe originally believed that he was born in New Zealand, but instead learned he was born on the Samoan Islands. This leads to Le’aupepe reflecting on this newfound revelation and questioning his entire identity.
The first couple of songs on the album are mostly devoted to talking about the impact that Le’aupepe’s father had on him and how he felt after he died. The opening song, “You in Everything” provides insight into the importance of Le’aupepe’s father, as he spends the song discussing how many aspects of his life remind him of his father’s presence.
This is then followed up by, in my opinion, the best song on this album “In the Wake of Your Leave.” This song is a fast-paced, emotional ballad with Le’aupepe pouring his heart out about his feelings over his father’s passing. Not only is the song pleasing to listen to with its tempo and use of guitar, but it really gives us an authentic reflection on the passing of your father.
While still maintaining the focus being on Le’aupepe’s father, the album transitions to more of an insight on his secret Samoan lineage. The sixth track, “Tend the Garden,” provides another important emotional centerpiece for the album, as Le’aupepe takes on the perspective of his father and gives the listeners his backstory on why he left the Samoan islands behind.
Le’aupepe writes about how his father had his regrets over leaving his home saying, “Lord knows if they would ever forgive me/I won’t forgive myself, at least.”
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The idea of Le’aupepe’s father lying about his past is further discussed in the ninth track, “Brothers.” This track breaks down the untrue backstory of his father and he also addresses the mistakes his father made. Le’aupepe discusses how his father had several children with other women, and how the lack of connection to his half-siblings has now affected Le’aupepe.
Following this, the next songs deal mostly with the identity crisis that Le’aupepe faces, now realizing his father’s secret heritage, and Le’aupepe questioning who he truly is.
In the closing track, “Goal of the Century,” Le’aupepe reflects on the journey he has been on the past three years.
Sonically, this album is not exactly reinventing the wheel when it comes to soft rock music, most of the album has a slower pace and relies on simpler instrumental composition. A lot of the songs sound very similar and Gang of Youths does not do too much to make each song sound distinct. If one were to listen to this album all in one sitting, they may find themselves bored with the repetitive nature of the songs.
But, it is clear based on interviews from Gang of Youths and the lyrics from the songs, that the story is the main focus of this album and that is what listeners should be looking for, as Le’aupepe does a great job at bringing the listeners into his mind and providing his thoughts on how he has felt for the past three years. The themes of the album change throughout it too, as this album starts off with talking about dealing with the loss of a loved one, to reflections from a journey of self-discovery.
While the repetitive instrumentals can lead to a somewhat mundane listening experience, the interesting story of Le’aupepe’s father was enough to keep me hooked throughout the entire time, so I would rate this album a 6/10 and would definitely recommend fans of Gang of Youths, or rock generally, to check it out once it releases Friday, Feb. 25th.