Gang Of Youths' recent EP 'total serene' represented a rebirth for the band following their relocation to London. Its singles, the Top 10 US Radio hit 'the angel of 8th ave.' and 'unison', signalled their growing creativity and ambitions, an approach which has boosted their profile on both sides of the Atlantic. The journey continues today as Gang Of Youths unveil their new single 'the man himself.
Produced in their own studio space in Hackney, 'the man himself' finds frontman Dave Le'aupepe meditating on the loss of his father. It's a disorientated experience in which he's overwhelmed and dislocated by grief. Yet while things will never be the same, he also realises that he needs to find his own way in the world without the help of that guiding, comforting hand. But the memory will remain, as present in the moment as the painting of Le'aupepe's father that hangs in his kitchen.
Those pained lyrics are homed in a song which exudes a far more positive feel. Emerging from the grand, cinematic aspect of the band's sonic spectrum, it's full of creative touches from the moment Tom Hobden's violin provides a scene-setting introduction. From the pulse-racing beat to the atmospheric piano breakdown and a typically whole-hearted hook, it finds Gang Of Youths continuing to explore new dimensions to their sound. As with 'unison', 'the man himself' features sampled field recordings of Indigenous Pacific music captured by David Fanshawe. And in a song about loss, they possess a pure and elative hymnal quality.
Dave Le'aupepe commented, "If I ever have kids I'm not really sure how to raise them without my dad helping me out."
Grief, death, faith and the life and legacy of Dave's father are themes paralleled in all their recent tracks. The grief of losing a parent has been described as a turning point, an insurmountable obstacle and a part-emptiness in perpetuity for life that has led Le'aupepe through his own journey of discovery, especially that of his Pacific/Maori Identity. Re-establishing a strong collective solidarity and sense of common identity as Pacific/Maori people has found itself intricately wound into each track with the field recordings of David Fanshawe, as well as through the cover art, which drew abstract inspiration from Fanshawe's own cover art.
Since relocating to London in 2017, Gang Of Youths have consistently scaled up the city's live circuit by progressing from grassroots venues such as The Old Blue Last and The Water Rats to sell-out the O2 Forum Kentish Town just a year later. Their previous gigs in the capital have included four sold-out nights at the Islington Assembly Hall, and a show as part of BRITs Week 2020 in support of War Child. Their life-affirming live shows have made them a festival hit everywhere including Splendour In The Grass, Laneway, Lollapalooza, SXSW, Austin City Limits and headlined Down To Earth – A Fire and Climate Relief Concert in 2020 to raise support the bushfire relief effort.
The band are now set to be introduced to an even bigger audience as guests to Sam Fender on his upcoming arena tour, which is complemented with select headline shows. All 40,000 tickets for the five Sam Fender shows are already sold-out.