After last month’s release of the fantastic single “the angel of 8th ave.”, Gang of Youths have released a surprise EP today featuring two brand new songs alongside the previous single. total serene arrives today with almost no leadup or promotion, offering a tantalizing preview of what’s to come from the Australian rockers.
The EP consists of “angel” alongside two new tracks. The lead single “unison” takes Gang of Youths’ sound in a new direction with banjos, brass, and a programmed drum breakdown that is oddly reminiscent of the livelier parts of The National’s recent discography. It’s a fantastic realization of their new sound and a compelling step forward from their typical stadium-burners. Regarding the song, lead singer David Le’aupepe shared the following:
“‘unison’ is a deeply important track for us that really signals where the music is headed on the new record. I conceived the song in Samoa, my ancestral homeland. Here we sample and introduce the work of David Fanshawe, who travelled to the Pacific Islands in the 1980s and recorded the most extensive library of indigenous Pacific music anywhere in the world.”
The EP’s other song is a cover of “asleep in the back” by the beloved U.K. rock band Elbow. Gang of Youths embrace the lullaby-esque feel of the original song, and Le’aupepe’s baritone has never sounded better as the song gently winds its way to a conclusion. With a sizeable U.K. tour announced for later in the summer, it seems that 2021 could be a breakthrough year for Gang of Youths, and we’re all better off for it. Stream the total serene EP here.
Watch the video for “the angel of 8th ave.” below: