Gang of Youths
The Positions


4.5
superb

Review

by owl beanie EMERITUS
April 30th, 2017 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: fill in all the cracks and holes with gold

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”

There’s a captivating dichotomy that rests at the heart of The Positions. Sonically, the record sounds like it exists in the clouds, some 6000 feet above the ground, while its lyrics are stubbornly concerned with what is 6 feet under it. But, despite its confusion and despite it being perpetually adrift in its own sorrow, the heart of this record beats defiantly. It values life just as much as it understands death.

Our journey fades in with the pedestrian lumber of a kick-drum. The steady beat reflects the slow beep of an ICU heart-rate monitor, a wordless thesis statement of sorts. Vital Signs brings to life the two people at the centre of the albums concept, framing them as a couple willing to walk along the shore, undeterred by the tide gradually creeping in. Somewhere along the hour, I imagine it’s at the beginning of Knuckles White Dry, Dave Le’aupepe hoists his terminally ill partner into his arms, carrying her the rest of the way. He's too tired for this ***.

This is the most bipolar arena rock you will ever hear. It’s like if The Killers wrote more than just hooks, or if The Gaslight Anthem spent most of their time in and around hospitals. I’ve personally seen bras thrown up on stage at a Gang of Youths gig, jarringly absurd when framed in the context of a song about sickness and suicide. They are that kind of band, and this is that kind of record – celebratory, triumphant, downtrodden and tragic.

Albums like this need a paean, lest they collapse under their own leaden atmosphere. Magnolia is a ***ed up kind of catharsis, all life-affirming crescendo and snarky attitude. A snapshot of a man both ready to die and ready "...to kick some ***ing ass". It's a song that celebrates life in the same way that a wake does, its just at the other end of the tunnel. Even when the darkness is abject, the record - whether it be through the robust production or Le'aupepe's sonorous vocals - glimmers with the possibility of something worth living for, which is a tough balance to strike, but an important one.

The Positions digs deep into what it means to be a survivor, a persistent experiencer of things, a person that is broken but not broken down. At the end of this album, the last lonely notes float out of frame, ready to continue living outside the context of a misfortune. You should be, too.



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user ratings (117)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
tom79
April 30th 2017


3939 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Man I've tried getting into this album more than a few times but every time I get about half way I sort of lose interest and put something else on. Nice review though, maybe I'll give it another shot one day.

verdant
Emeritus
April 30th 2017


2492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers as! that's fair enough, GoY seem pretty adamant about drawing out their build-ups until the songs are like 6+ minutes so i can see how it can get exhausting. hopefully it clicks for ya next time (:

Snake.
April 30th 2017


25297 Comments


one review per day

verdant
Emeritus
April 30th 2017


2492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sure, thanks for letting me know

grandfather
May 19th 2017


219 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just discovered this band. So good. The perfect time, too - I get to dig into this record as I wait for the new one. The new singles sound amazing.

verdant
Emeritus
May 22nd 2017


2492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah i'm heaps excited for the new one too, glad you like them

BigHans
August 15th 2017


30959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really great review

verdant
Emeritus
August 18th 2017


2492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks!

ramon.
December 29th 2017


4194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the OG

AngryJohnny
January 30th 2018


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this is a 4.5 too all things considered. The highs are not quite as high but there are no poor songs or interludes

Project
March 20th 2018


5848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally spinning this after falling in love with and 5ing GFIL. Figured I should be familiar with this band's whole discog before I see them in DC.

Project
March 23rd 2018


5848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Magnolia sounds like Gang of Youths doing a There Will Be Fireworks cover. Which is, of course, amazing.

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2018


26419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's weird how multilayered and yet straightforward these compositions are

AngryJohnny
May 15th 2018


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah exactly that there's a lot more going on the background than you initially think

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2018


26419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They're all stylized like 3-minute long compositions but when they reach 6 minutes they all still work weirdly well

dustandnations
April 17th 2020


371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Happy 5th birthday to one of my favourite debuts. I prefer this to GFIL sometimes, its scrappiness has a charm to it, the emotional highs pack the same punch, and its just a little less *long* ...

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2020


26419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good bump dude this shit is nice



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