Review: Gang Of Youths – ‘Go Farther In Lightness’

Straight off the bat, Go Farther In Lightness is a victory album. It’s a victory of love and loss; a triumph for hope and life. It’s an album with many peaks and just as many moments that make you ponder and appreciate your existence. It’s a compass for those lacking direction. It’s the ‘I may not know what I’m doing, but I’m going to have a real crack at it anyway’ moment we’ve all had. But most importantly, Go Farther In Lightness is an album that re-instills faith in the process called life.

Coming two years after their acclaimed debut The Positions, Gang Of Youths have put together 16 tracks that will rival, if not better, any release this year for the impact it will have on its listeners. It’s a hefty listen, both in content and length. Coming in at 75 minutes, it’s a long, but hardly arduous listen. In an age where attention spans are dwindling and you can’t go longer than 10 minutes without looking at your phone, Go Farther In Lightness is an album that needs to be listened to in full. You’ll be doing yourself and the band a massive favour by doing so.

From the opening chords of first track “Fear and Trembling”, you sense that Go Farther In Lightness is going to be something special. Beginning with piano and the earnest vocals of front man Dave Le’aupepe before soaring into the anthemic chorus and percussion reminiscent to The Positions’ “Vital Signs”, “Fear and Trembling” will go down an absolute treat in a live setting.

The one-two punch of “What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?” and “Atlas Drowned” is an early strength as GFIL hits its stride from the get-go and mirrors the heavier, faster tracks of their earlier releases. “Keep Me In The Open” is an absolute beauty. With the re-affirming notion that you indeed do deserve better than whatever it is that you’re going through right now, its softly spoken opening is a little reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s “Book of Love”. This is the love song of the LP.

Book-ended by the instrumental “L’imaginaire” and “Go Farther in Lightness”, the sprawling and grandiose “Do Not Let Your Spirit Wane” is a testament to the songwriting capabilities of Le’aupepe. It’s also cool to see the return of the very same Magnolia tree referenced on The Positions, in the reflective “Go Farther In Lightness”.

“Achilles Come Down” sounds like it will soundtrack an indie art flick that critics will froth over. The orchestral influence throughout “Achilles Come Down” and “Le Symbolique” is brilliant, before melting seamlessly into the underrated “Let Me Down Easy”. The positive outlook on “The Heart Is A Muscle” gives you hope that even in the darkest moments, there will always be another opportunity to love and be loved.

As the album begins to draw to a close, you’re left wondering where else it could go. The band has covered just about every human emotion to this point; surely they’ve got nothing more to show? You’d be wrong in thinking this. The cathartic prowess on “The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows” is a strength on the album that hadn’t been matched to this point. Helping close out the album is “Say Yes To Life”. This is the track that was inevitable from the very opening notes of the album. Where every albums needs that one song to draw you in at its beginning, this is the song needed to leave you on a euphoric high as you ponder the absolute beauty in what you’d just heard. “Say Yes To Life” is the complete antithesis of “What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?”. It’s a track of hope, glory and absolute-total-victory. “Say Yes To Life” is the embodiment of Go Farther In Lightness in one song.

Go Farther In Lightness is a winner. There are no losers here. Draw what you want from it. Help it tie your loose ends together. Listen to the album. Choose life; you’ll be a victor if you do.