"Go big or go home" may not be the official slogan for Gang of Youths, but it is undoubtedly their, or at least leader David Le'aupepe's, M.O. angel in realtime. wastes none setting the stage for what will unfold over its 13 tracks. The nearly seven-minute opening "You In Everything" incorporates the cornerstones the Australian quintet have built their career upon: lush soundscapes from a range of instruments, including strings, and Le'aupepe's powerful baritone both cooing and passionately belting out the earnest storytelling of his unabashedly personal lyrics. As could also be said about the album's predecessor, this one is even more boldly ambitious than the last.
Gang of Youths' third LP does not disguise its inspiration: Le'aupepe working through his father's death and reconciling the choices the deceased elder made to do what he saw best for his family. The intent is catharsis, and if listeners are in the mood for the grandiose, angel in realtime. may land as one of the finer albums of this young year. If not, the 67-minute runtime and anthemic U2-esque elements can serve as an easy disconnect. I'll admit, I've entertained thoughts in both of those directions, largely dependent on my attention given. That said, Gang of Youths usually do the trick of leaving me feeling better than before I pushed play.