Uh oh. Miks usually beats me to Gang of Youths posts but finally it’s me with a handful of sentences to try and explain why I can’t stop caring about what these dudes do. Could get gushy, you should brace.
Well if you put a gun to my head and asked me what the best art looks like, I would:
1. Suspect that’s not really your question. Because, you know, the gun.
2. Quickly pick a serious answer in a spike of panic (probably as you start squeezing the trigger), and blurt out: “just a human, easily seen.”
I realise that would be an awkward thing to say and I would still get shot. But it could be true and more importantly I think Dave Le’aupepe is a vivid example of this very thing.
Not so much in his press persona, where he is unpredictable and cut-throat honest, but still oddly mysterious. I mean there’s a whole other piece in that. But I’m talking songs.
‘Benevolence Riots‘ shows new colours sonically – there’s a flip to a resigned vocal that cuts through a surprisingly snappy song structure. But the key element for me is stronger than ever – the unusually deep heart. By heart I guess I mean that it has these undertones to it. Like a messy collision of many things I grapple quietly with myself, but spread out loudly in a spectacular, tragic, desperate, beautiful way.
For example, I get washed around from intelligent altruism to resigned devotion, dark cynicism to desperate hope, blue collar clarity to the confusion of human greatness, equality, craftsmanship, earning, failure and most of all: the deep unspeakable grind and reward of costly human relationships.
Heavy, complex, yes. And maybe I am too much of a fan to write this – but if you put this with their other songs to date, I swear all that stuff is in there.
It’s mostly Dave we’re seeing, though like most great bands I sense that the other guys have more to do with us hearing this stuff than we’ll ever know. Certainly these are an oddball bunch in their own right, possibly bonded now both as fun loving bros and more like actual brothers who have spent 2 years on a kicking bull together. That part you can feel live. But I’m digressing.
For mine, I’d take these songs straight. Like, neat. Raw on one of those prison cafeteria trays. Thus I’m not craving any more shimmer or dressing than we get here. But it is rather lovely shimmer, so I don’t mind if we get a lush record. As long as they keep Dave’s ‘easily seen heart’, I’m in.
Have I explained myself well? Maybe not. I still don’t really understand why I love this band so much. But I’ll say this – if we do get the album that these songs point at (next year?) I’ll be buying a physical copy so I can keep it near to me when I sleep. Music, hey.
Have you ever been too certain you would love a track before you hear it?
It’s a dangerous place to be, wielding that kind of unbridled expectation. In fact, my old man used to proudly profess his pessimism (p p p p) with the sly gloat that ‘those who expect little are never disappointed’. Whether or not that is a healthy way to go about life (obviously it isn’t) (it’s ok because brackets are like whispering so he can’t hear) I paid no mind whatsoever and embarked on a life of overexcitment.
Yes, sometimes you do lose. Not everything tickled me like I hoped it would this week. But then sometimes you are just right. Confidently, accurately, literally correct.
The sound quality is top of the top shelf, but I just deleted more aghast gushing on that because it would be a waste to listen to this geekily. This one is about heart. Dripping, mature, full, unique heart.
I tend to believe Fractures when he opens his mouth, and Andrei is so far beyond his years in letting delicate sonic pieces run together just enough to take the focus off the skill and onto the song.
To quote myself on the result: “‘Ghosts‘ is an emotionally complex snippet of life wrapped in a deft beauty – and I couldn’t have over-anticipated it if I tried”.
Adam 1, unbridled expectation 0. Hah.
The whole Fractures EP including this track went up for procurement today. Why not throw some currency at it eh. I also grabbed it straight from Andre for full lossless immersion, for me this is the very kind of track that is worth such technology.
I’m going to let you in on a private fact. Don’t let it shock you now, with all it’s realness.
We don’t post every great track we hear. Not even nearly.
I know, easy now. You thought this blog was encyclopaedic and we have betrayed you. Not unlike how actual encyclopedias betrayed me, when I learned there was knowledge out there not recorded on my Encarta 95 CD ROM. If you can’t buy all human understanding for $50, what is even the point. So don’t think that I escaped pain-free either.
But it’s better that you know. When this Fractures one dropped I had my hands a little full with life and it quickly splashed out on all those quicker blogs with their watchfulness and pouncing – and I was already days and days late. I didn’t want to risk being nicknamed internet explorer, so I quietly enjoyed it in the humble privacy of my own headphones.
Yet in the end it was just too good for that. It crept into my head and made some weary days all the better for it. Eventually I could take it no longer and stormed into myself in frustration.
“What a fool you’ve been, Adam. What a fool. Is this beloved song not worthy of an internet life longer than 10 soundcloud days*?”.
(*equivalent to 10 average earth days in the old measurement)
Of course angry me was right.
From the outset this thing is beautiful. Restrained, elegantly lean with the hook, flawless sonics (with those Eremin lows). But you have ears, you know what I mean.
Learn from my own tumultuous tale and keep ‘Won’t Win‘ rolling.