R’nR With Rylo
Spin #60 : Gang of Youths : Go Farther in Lightness
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #60
Welcome to R'nR with Rylo and I hope that you have been traveling ok this week. For our 60th Spin we have chosen 'Go Farther In Lightness' by Australian band, Gang of Youths. I'm not sure if I've said this before but I sit down every couple of months and write out a list of albums that I will spin as our weekly choices. It is amazing sometimes how timely some albums are with what is going on in our lives and can be a little spooky. If you are looking for an something that has more layers than an onion, get yourself a copy of this critically acclaimed album and add it to your collection. I was gifted this album from my friend (Jazz) and appreciate his generosity.
For this review, I've chosen the front room set-up because the weather has been really nice and sunny lately. Only this week we set up the front room with two extra chairs that create more of a sitting and coffee room feeling. It also acts as a listening room for four people or for our children to sit and read in comfort. There is more of a library feeling to the partitioned lower section of our front room now because I had to create more of a workspace for myself. One day our little family will have the house it deserves and I hope that our children know how much their mum and dad are working each day to achieve that dream. The front room equipment is higher up (out of reach from our children) and able to have the Marshall Woburn II speaker facing the work desk or blasting out into the sitting area. I am pretty happy with how it turned out and once the littlest Rylo doesn't feel the need to damage items, I will be able to take down more of the baby gates and fences.
ALBUMS OF NOTE IN (2017): Melodrama - Lorde, Flower Boy - Tyler the Creator, DAMN. - Kendrick Lamar, Villains - Queens of the Stone Age, American Teen - Khalid, Lust for Life - Lana Del Rey, After Laughter - Paramore, Process - Sampha,
Drunk - Thundercat, The Sin and the Sentence - Trivium, Flying Microtonal Banana, Sketches of Brunswick East, Murder of the Universe, Polgondwanaland, Gumboot Soup - King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (Five Albums !!)
Image : Donnie Borzestowski, Joji Malani, David Le'aupepe, Jung Kim, Max Dunn
If you have a copy of 'Go Farther In Lightness' then please feel free to place your copy on your turntable and listen along as we move the tonearm across to the outside groove.
This is quite a daunting album to review (Spin) because there is so much depth and complexity across the diverse range of sounds and lyricism. There is sadness coursing through this band that acts as the inspiration for so much of their song writing - 'The Positions' (2014) and 'Angel In Realtime' (2022). I don't know if it is mainly with front man, David Le'aupepe suffering from loss or self-worth issues but there are some very emotive and powerful moments to take in.
As 'FEAR AND TREMBLING' starts out you would be forgiven for thinking this is a slow ballad number. You have the band bringing you in close with an intimate sound and setting before they put you on a musical treadmill and hit the hill climb button. It hits hard and for so many people, hits differently. I know that this song can be uplifting and bring a smile to your face but I also know that it can make you cry too. I can't tell you what this album will do to you but whatever it does, it will be the right reaction. One of the best live Australian bands out there currently and it was a shame that the only time I've seen them perform was at the NRL grand final in 2018 with my Dad. The speakers were poor at the stadium and didn't do the band justice to be honest. Hopefully I get to see them perform live and be able to take my wife in the future. There is so much to like lyrically on this song and it was hard to choose some - "Still illuminating nothing but the love I turn away and I still care about the present and the weight of circumstance. To the muckraking of cowards and a symphony of sass. While I have questions of mortality, the clear and present vast. They just yell the words, "Pretentious", with no clarity or class". Such a strong song to lead of this album and you're probably thinking, "Where do they go from here?".
Your question is answered pretty quickly with the sounds of second song, 'WHAT CAN I DO IF THE FIRE GOES OUT?'. Really clear and raw guitar work from Malani to start this one off and then there is a calmness before the vocals come through. Borzestowski is having a lot of fun behind the drum kit and this album played in full at a concert would be something spectacular, maybe for 10 year anniversary of the album. "This is the sound of a soul in tune, to a savage desire for a soul made new. It's a savage desire for a soul untamed, a definitive cry in the present age". This song is such a cleansing song and I love singing along to the chorus on this one. I've heard this through the car and streaming via my phone but I'll say it again - you can't beat hearing it through a good setup on Vinyl. This album was really made for this medium and if you're lucky enough to get a copy, you won't be disappointed. I witnessed a cute moment the other day when I was spinning this one (which had to be done over a couple of sittings due to the welcomed length of the album). That moment was when the the musicianship of Gang of Youths was causing our daughter (Q) and son (K) to get up and dance in the front room. They were giggling and holding hands as they jumped and bopped along to majority of this album. For any parents out there, having your kids be interested in something for an extended amount of time is difficult (unless it's screen orientated, then they become little zombies). We have been actively trying to limit their screen time where we can and get them up and moving or playing outside. I love watching them grow up and being home currently witnessing that is something I'll never take for granted.
Anthemic drum fills and hip swinging pacing comes through the speaker next on 'ATLAS DROWNED'. There are elements here that make you feel as if you are listening to a hybrid of Bruce Springsteen and The Strokes. Le'aupepe once read the 1957 novel, 'Atlas Shrugged' and felt that people are too selfish and are currently hiding their real selves. Make sure you align yourself with your values and yours alone, whilst being kind to one another. There are people out there that will chew you up and spit you out by walking all over your kindness and it's your responsibility to recognise these danger signs in people and preserve your good nature. Amazingly, this album just keeps providing auditory gold for us as listeners and that doesn't stop on the next song, 'KEEP ME IN THE OPEN'. I like the layering on this song even though it is about a parting of ways between two people that want the absolute best for one another. Jung works his magic on this one and it really does provide a moment to settle back down and focus on the lyrics. "Tell me how I can do this thing, Tell me how I can help this thing go easily, 'cause I'm trying, honeybee. Tell me how I can beat this thing, Tell me how I can make this beast die easily, Goddamn it, honeybee". The stylus is coming to the dead wax now and that tells me it's time to flip LP over to side B.
Engaging sounds of the instrumental, 'L'IMAGINAIRE' starts off Side B and was a winner with our little ones. Seeing them smile as they have the best time dancing is something that I will never get sick of watching. I read somewhere that the instrumental sections were added to break up the songs and give us, as listeners, a chance to catch our breath. Le'aupepe mentioned that his inspiration was his father's love of classical music. It gives me a chance to look at the album artwork and the simplicity of a black and white photograph and large text. There isn't a lot going on but it is so effective and would be a good choice as framed album artwork. The words of "So I have this dream, it comes like twice in a week" and I realise we have gone into the sounds of 'DO NOT LET YOUR SPIRIT WANE'. If you add the instrumental to this song, it flows really nicely and could be mistaken for being one song. If you have had recurring dreams it sometimes means there is something out there that your mind knows you want to do or achieve. If you sit back, sometimes you miss your window and therefore let your spirit wane. This track, even though is slow and soft, acts as an uplifting mood enhancer that makes me sing along each time. "Cut me out, take me home. My hands are tired, my legs are broke and the ruptured chrome plus the deep unknown, turn my insides out and my head face down". Malani really pulls out some fine guitar playing at the end of this one and I think due to that and the lyrics, is my favourite track.
'GO FARTHER IN LIGHTNESS' is such a short and sweet interlude that pays homage to Sydney and their first album (The Positions by referring to the song, Magnolia). It is rare that the title track would not be a single released or a longer song but it has a definite place on this album with its piano and intimacy. It acts as a link between the songs that surround it before the violin comes through like a freight train, filling up all the spaces in our front room. Our children stopped instantly and you could see them thinking to themselves, "What is that sound?". 'ACHILLES COME DOWN' has Le'aupepe acting as the person below asking Achilles to come down from the roof and to not jump. Le'aupepe was going through a lot and a way to process the break up of his relationship and wife having cancer was to create a persona he could direct his own insecurities too in form of this song. I like the back and forth and spoken word throughout this song and there is also some sampling used. The song comes to an end with the lyrics of, "Today, of all days, see how the most dangerous thing is to love. How you will heal and you'll rise above. Crowned by an overture bold and beyond. Ah, it's more courageous to overcome.
A song full of sadness comes on next with 'PERSEVERE' where the vocals are softer and the bass of Dunn comes through so clear. This song is about loss and loss of someone who didn't get to live a life at all. "'Cause nothing tuned me in to absurdity as fast as a gravestone with the name of a baby that has passed. I used to wanna be important, now I just wanna be alive and without fear, you got to persevere". Definitely a moment where I'm glad our children had run off to play in the loungin (loungeroom for all of you not familiar with our children's names for things). One that makes me worry every day as a father and would be extremely tough to just push through and persevere like his friends did. Side B comes to an end and it's time to change LP 1 for LP2. Go and get yourself a tissue and a nice drink after that one.
Our children run back into the room at the sound of the orchestral arrangement and soothing music on instrumental 'LE SYMBOLIQUE'. Can't wait to teach them how to dance as they grow up and learn all the funny dance moves that will be 'modern' in the near future. I think something like this would be a nice one to slow dance too. One thing that I'd love to do in the future is take up dance classes with Night Kat Kiz and learn salsa, tango or waltz. It feels like this is the moment on the album where you rise and feel inspired. The drumming comes in for the mega-hit song, 'LET ME DOWN EASY' and there is a seamless transition. It has a very catchy beat and chorus to sing along with and the sound of the Asian instrument, Erhu makes an appearance to great effect. It does feel like this song is building the listener back up again, piece by piece after the sadness at the end of LP1.
That sense is confirmed with the solid opening sounds of 'THE HEART IS A MUSCLE' after the initial vocals. You can't help but tapping along or feeling energised by the piano and guitarwork. I like the lyrics of, "There will be no years of silence in the shadow of regret". This song is filled with so much passion and vibrancy in the strings section that support the band. Side C comes to an end and it's time to flip LP over for the final side.
Another chance to take a breath as the instrumental sounds of 'LE REEL' start playing. It really does feel like an old movie or theatre production with the timely interludes and whilst that was playing I read a quote from Le'aupepe regarding the previous song -"The more empathy we exercise, the more love we display, the more autonomy we demonstrate, the stronger that muscle becomes". I thought it was pretty thought provoking and you needed to read that. A lot of people feel that the next song is the biggest on the album and was a close chance of being my favourite. 'THE DEEPEST SIGHS, THE FRANKEST SHADOWS' has so much to like about it and I've included the video clip for it here. I also like the lyrics of, "In a crowd unfamiliar, I just wanna touch a familiar face and make friends at the parties I've feared the likes of an age. To be wanted with truth and make formidable love. See light in myself that I see inside everyone else I know". It has a powerful chorus and I want to know which song has been your favourite so far? Leave a comment in the section below. If this song doesn't get you tapping along with your feet then you may need to check they are still attached to your body. I like how they ended this song too with the isolated guitar and vocals.
A very important song to listen too and feel that the title is important to remember, 'OUR TIME IS SHORT'. It is a time to celebrate if you can because life is short and do as they tell us, "so let's drink, drink the best wine now. While we're strong and we are proud until lightning strikes us down and you'll eat, eat 'til you are full, cutting straight through all the bull, I will accept you warts and all". Probably my third favourite song on the album because of the violin, lyrics and meaning behind it. I know that I said this side is more uplifting and it really depends how you look at this album. Remember when I said at the beginning that your reaction will be exactly what you need whilst listening. That leads us into the last song on the album called, 'SAY YES TO LIFE'.
What a way to end this album with such a thought provoking and inspirational song. This all came from whatever was happening in Le'aupepe's life at the time and he chose to keep on living and fighting. I'm not sure but that can act as a sense of inspiration for so many people doing it tough. No matter how hard the challenges may seem, there is always someone out there who will be able to talk you through the problems that you are facing. I've been in many situations where you feel nothing is going to get better but it's very difficult to believe that when you are the one going through the tough time. It's such an inspirational track and one that I feel was chosen specifically to bring the album to an end.
If you are one of our readers and are doing it tough, please reach out to me so I can either get you in touch with someone who may be able to help or use me as your venting board. I've been told that my energy is like a battery for others and I can be the life of the party for so long but if I don't take time to be selfish and re-charge, I then become depleted and I can't help anyone. It feels strange not being able to help everyone but if you wanted to talk about, lets say, The Beatles or a more obscure band that I may not know, then please send a message.
Thank you for coming along this week for what has become our longest Spin and what a way to celebrate Spin #60! If you enjoyed this week then make sure to check in on Wednesday for our MWSP clues on our socials. Remember to hug your loved ones, talk often and that the heart is a muscle (and I want to make it strong)! Also, Happy RSD 2023 for yesterday and hopefully you all got out and had a chance to flip through some crates.
"The written word is like a drug. If you cut me, I bleed ink" - Howard Moon
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who may be doing it tough and be Kind to your Wax!