If you know me at all, you must know that I’ve had a passionate love affair with music for as long as I can remember. The way that some songs hit you and resonate in a way that you can’t quite put into words, so much so that you truly wonder how the songwriter created it without knowing you or your emotions personally, it feels shocking and unexplainable.
My earliest memories of associating music to distinct times in my life started when I was around ten-years-old, my mom, who worked in a school and had all summers off, drove my sister and I around to various extracurricular activities like soccer camp and the weekly trip to our town’s pool. Here, artists like Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, The Eagles, and The Chicks were queued up as the soundtrack, quietly creating the foundation of my music taste to come.
But the most visceral reaction I had to a song hitting me like a ton of bricks, and then ultimately helping me heal, was a song played at a friends’ funeral, who passed away when I was 12. No need to get into detail to avoid the dark topic of death, but that was the first moment in my life where I can remember the power of music actually helping me.
Frontman Dave Le’aupepe of Australian band Gang of Youths has to have had a similar experience to mine at some point in his lifetime, considering all of the emotion he channels in the band’s new song “in the wake of your leave” off their upcoming album angel in realtime, set to drop on February 25.
The song is about the death of Le’aupepe’s father, who passed away from cancer in 2018. Speaking on the song, Le’aupepe says “I wanted to reflect on how I became dependent on grief for solace and inspiration. The cycle from numbness to acceptance to yearning plays a role in my approach to grieving my dad’s death. As a result, most of the time, I feel a bit futile as a person.”
“in the wake of your leave” has larger-than-life melodies and a radio-friendly hook that reminds me of the ghosts of stadium rock’s past (or present?): specifically artists like Muse, The Killers, and U2. One amazing detail that deserves recognition: the Auckland Gospel Choir is featured on backup harmonies and the percussion is provided by drummers from the Cook Islands.
This topic of grief and loss is the focus of the band’s upcoming LP, a project that has supposedly been in the works for several years at this point.
Listen to “in the wake of your leave” here.