The latest album from Gang of Youths puts the band’s best storytelling foot forward. It’s an inventory — or a documentation — of explorative, emotive musings and passages which, in turn, delivers 13 cinematic-sounding tracks laden with lump-in-your-throat goodness.
‘angel in realtime.’ has got a raw lyrical similarity to bands such as The Gaslight Anthem, but it’s so musically on point, too. It pushes the envelope and harnesses pianos and acoustic guitars throughout the more instrumental pieces, like the pacy ‘in the wake of your leave’. An awful lot of skill and creativity has been poured into this new LP, which they’ve packaged up in a fittingly powerful, bright orange.
Favourites, of course, come in the forms of saxophone-soaked jazz segments on ‘tend the garden’. While ‘the angel of 8th ave.’ is spiritually charged, with riffs that are a bit ‘early-days Bloc Party’, it regales you with chatter that you don’t want to stop hearing about. And when you’ve got common themes of sinking feelings being traversed, it packs that lexical punch.
I’m not exactly mad about drawing a comparison between the sixth song, ‘unison’, and something you might find in U2’s back catalogue, but here we are — it’s just a smidge reminiscent. Are you picking up on that as well?
Wistful stringed melodies and eastern-style influences aren’t in short supply either — I’m looking to ‘the kingdom is within you’ especially here, which also poses a fast funkiness. That sort of setup’s in place on ‘forbearance’, too. They even deftly change the tempo on pieces such as ‘spirit boy’, which is one of the softer ones.
The album rounds off with ‘goal of the century’, an offering so grandiose but tearjerking that it should feature on a film score. Within 07:03, you get backing chants, more strings, almost clapped drums and a whole lot of poignance. This isn’t just an indie-rock record, it’s an introspective confessional, and I’m bloody well here for it.
If you only download one track, let it be: ‘in the wake of your leave’
One thought on “‘angel in realtime.’ — Gang of Youths — Album review ”