words by Renee Meznarsic

Self proclaimed dad rockers, Gang of Youths have released their debut album, The Positions, which was inspired by lead singer, David Le’aupepe’s, trials and tribulations throughout the four year long relationship he had with a girl who was diagnosed with stage four cancer.

Now, with this knowledge in mind, you can definitely listen to this album and feel absolutely every heartbreak and all the highs and lows in-between, but would you believe you can feel this way about the album without knowing this? Look, I know, you can’t exactly go back and un-read the above (sorry), but The Positions really resonates well beyond this emotional tale. It’s a story yes, but it also may be the best Australian album of this year (there, I’ve said it)

Starting out with the gentle but building, ‘Vital Signs’, a slow building Americana feeling track that finishes in a growly, gritty and raw fashion. This slow and building style is consistent with the entirety of the album, each song in their own way. The track actually reminds me quite a deal of Kings of Leon’s ‘Knocked Up’, in both sound, and length, as the track plays for a bit over 7-minutes. Now this might be considered long by song standards, however, it never once, nor does the remainder of the album, overstay it’s welcome.

The following 4 tracks (‘Poison Drum’, ‘The Diving Bell’ and ‘Restraint & Release’) follow this same richly layered and textured building technique and then – boom, we reach ‘Magnolia’, track number 5, right smack in the middle of the album, and then suddenly the tempo changes to completely sombre and follows through the remaining half of the album (‘Kansas’, ‘Knuckles White Dry’, ‘Radioface’, ‘Sjamboksa’) right until the end track, ‘The Overpass’, which takes on an almost The KillersBrandon Boyd type vocals and is really the perfect end to the entire album, as it takes you to a beautiful, isolated place.

I feel as though I’ve touched too few on the tracks between the middle and end, but they really are all killer and no filler. As cliche as it may sound, I can’t really pick favourite songs throughout! Each adds it’s own unique and sobering part to the tale of The Positions. I genuinely cannot flaw this album, which is definitely a start to finish type of one, as opposed to a collection of mismatched singles. Listening to it actually brings back memories of bands I was obsessed with years ago, an old flame has been ignited with my new favourite album, The Positions.

Rating: ★★★★★

You can get a copy of The Positions by Gang of Youths now from iTunes.

Gang of Youths are kicking off a national tour of Australia in a few weeks – check out all of those details on their tour page.