With their debut album ‘Always Lose’, The Gospel Youth highlight their vulnerability and strength as a band, offering a treat to anyone looking for an emotional yet rewarding ride.
In the years building to 2017, British music has seen better days. Diluted with upbeat pop and “so-so” indie rock, there have been few new bands to demonstrate why the Brits are great. After releasing their 2015 EP ‘Empires’, England’s South Coast band The Gospel Youth look to change that narrative.
Forming in 2014, the band gained a small following from their gigs alongside We Are the Ocean, Mallory Knox, Deaf Havana, and Hands Like Houses. In 2016, they launched their very own crowdfunding campaign, releasing 12 singles in 12 months thanks to the tremendous fan support. Gradually building their presence within the music industry, it was only a matter of time before The Gospel Youth would release something as evocative with ‘Always Lose’.
Straight from their opening track ‘I Will Deliver You to the Fireflies’, a rush from the piano heightens singer Sam Little’s roaring vocals. It pulls at the heartstrings; a feeling described as painful yet bittersweet. However, to say painful is an understatement – it’s a gut-wrenching roller coaster filled with grief – “You were weak from the nights that you spent fighting your way out of hospital beds.” The raw emotion captured by the story-driven lyrics is captivating in the album’s opener; made only better by what follows next.
‘Gin & Black Coffee’, ‘Wildfire’, and ‘Moods Like English Weather’ all have listeners reminiscing over the early-mid 2000’s emo rock scene. A standout in the album, ‘Wildfire’ builds like a symphony; a slow acoustic driven opener that ignites into a fierce fire once the chorus hits – “I am anxious, I am scared, I am anything but well prepared.” An unnerving sensation sets in, a reminder of the ups and downs in life and the constant battles we fight in ourselves.
‘Moods Like English Weather’ further highlights the endless cycle of depression and misery. The sensation of being trapped in guilt, making the same idiotic mistakes over and over. The anger that can be heard from Little’s voice when he belts, “Well I guess I messed things up again,” is undeniably relatable. The repetition of “I’m weak, I’m weak, I’m weak” digs down deep into what The Gospel Youth are trying to do with their music – express vulnerability.
The Gospel Youth have done something special here, they’ve made their music personal. Each track of ‘Always Lose’ builds on one another, tackling human frailty and the overall strength to persevere. This is in large part to prolific producer Romesh Doangda (known for his work on Motörhead, Kids in Glass Houses, Bring Me The Horizon), composing an album that flows wonderfully from start to finish. Each track is tightly orchestrated to complement the instrumentation and vocal performance from Little.
The album’s shift in tempo and melody throughout notable songs like the previously mentioned ‘I Will Deliver You To The Fireflies’ and ‘Wildfire’ are spot on. Nearing the end, “Spirit of Boston” lacked the same emotional impact found throughout the rest of the album. Thankfully, “Bloodlines Love Stopped Me Coming Home” ends ‘Always Lose’ on a high note. If there were ever any complaints about ‘Always Lose,’ it would be that the album doesn’t stand well as individual tracks rather than a complete set. However, this is not a bad thing and to be frank, it’s not their intended goal.
For those who want to rekindle their love for early 2000’s pop rock, there is a lot to appreciate with ‘Always Lose.’ The album is tender yet fierce; emotional yet uplifting. The sincere moments of honesty are rewarding, expressing much vulnerability with strength at the same time. There is a lot to love here and it is without a doubt one of the better debut albums from a Brit rock band in recent memory.
‘Always Lose’ is out now via Rise Records. The full track-listing is as follows…
1 – I Will Deliver You To The Fireflies
2 – Gin & Black Coffee
3 – Wildfire
4 – Tired Eyes & Heavy Hearts
5 – Your Love Was A Cancer
6 – Revolutions
7 – Moods Like English Weather
8 – Kids
9 – Spirit of Boston
10 – Bloodlines // Love Stopped Me Coming Home