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Gang of Youths Share New Surprise EP, ‘total serene’

Featuring the previously-released “the angel of 8th ave.” and a cover of Elbow’s “asleep in the back”, Gang of Youths are showcasing their future direction with total serene.

Amy Heycock*

Just over a month on from the release of their first piece of new music in four years, Gang of Youths have suprise-released a new three-track EP, with total serene available from all outlets today.

Kicking off with the previously-released single “the angel of 8th ave.”, the trio of tracks continues with a cover of Elbow’s 2002 single, “asleep in the back”, with frontman Dave Le’aupepe’s husky delivery providing a majestic tribute to the oft-underrated English outfit.

“We love Elbow and we thought it was thematically relevant,” Le’aupepe explained. “It couldn’t have been anything other than ‘asleep in the back’.”

However, it’s the final track that undoubtedly serves as the biggest headline of this release, with “unison” giving fans an example of what to expect from Gang of Youths’ future. Described as a celebration of love’s salvation, Le’aupepe turns it into a nuanced composition, “touching upon how current circumstances are influenced by both our heritage and by sheer chance” against a backdrop of brass, banjos, programmed beats, and samples of indigenous Pacific music.

“‘unison’ is a deeply important track for us that really signals where the music is headed on the new record,” Le’aupepe explains. “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.”

Though it currently remains unknown as to when Gang of Youths are set to return with their highly-anticipated third album, both total serene and tracks such as “unison” give fans an example of the eclectic, evolved direction in which their music is heading.

Gang of Youths’ total serene EP is officially released today.