On July 19th Gang of Youths dropped their new single and video, “unison,” off their new EP total serene. Their first release since 2017’s Go Farther in Lightness, “unison” “signposts Gang of Youths’ future with its intricately detailed production, extending the core band sound with layers of brass, banjo, programmed beats, and samples of David Fanshawe’s influential documentation of indigenous Pacific music.” This might sound like there’s a lot going on, and there is; however, none of it feels out of place, and the song feels like it’s perfectly balanced. The potential “clutter” is reserved for the climax of the song, where it makes the most sense.
Frontman David Le’aupepe has said that this song “is a deeply important track for us that really signals where the music is headed on the new record.” Full disclosure: my only exposure to Gang of Youths was seeing their name on festival lineups, but if this is an indication of where their sound is going, sign me up. Lyrically, Le’aupepe floats through something that is seemingly stream of consciousness. Sonically, the band creates something that is equal parts energetic and relaxing. It’s a synthesis of words and music that hits a perfectly timed crescendo, almost at the level of Radiohead’s “All I Need.”
The music video, directed by Joel Barney, features just “three long cuts” of the band, and it captures the energy of the track almost as much as I’m sure the live performances of this will. Check out the music video right here, and be sure to go find the full total serene EP. If “unison” is the synthesis of the first two tracks that the band claims it is, I’m certain those two tracks will be worth your time as well.