“It’s hard to believe that The Gates is Young Empires‘ debut,” writes the CBC. “It’s such a confident, cohesive record.” Three years after the release of their “happy-go-lucky” EP Wake All My Youth, the Toronto-based trio has returned with an album that combines late night soul, Technicolor pop, and vibey beats to present a mature departure from the songs they wrote in their mid-20s. Rather than sticking to the dance-heavy theme that was present in their EP, Young Empires have slowed things down and experimented sonically while touching lyrically on ageless themes of love, loss, rebirth, and redemption. According to bassist Jake Palahnuk, “There’s more struggle on this record. Life gets tougher as you grow up. The bliss of youth fades away and real life sets in.”
Yet there’s also a lot of hope. On the title track, the video for which is here, the band addresses feelings of loneliness and delivers the message that “You’re not alone.” The band says that the song “suggests that by uniting with those around us, we can overcome this feeling of isolation.” On the soulful “So Cruel,” the band “goes into slinky dance-music overdrive,” according to Stereogum, “sounding something like Passion Pit might if they spent some serious time in Berlin’s finer house-music establishments.” “Sunshine” is an upbeat track that combines fluid vocals and captivating melodies with bouncy drums, while closer “Uncover Your Eyes” is a triumphant anthem about “looking within one’s self to overcome internal struggles and challenges.” Stunningly heavy yet optimistic and expansive, the ten songs that make up The Gates are captivating, compelling, and immediately addictive.
“With luminous, reverbing synths and pinched vocals… Toronto trio Young Empires… [delivers] indie-pop delicacy.’”
“Young Empires [are] moving in a weightier direction with the new material—one that’s sonically lush and led by [vocalist Matthew] Vlahovich’s most authoritative vocals yet.”
RIYL: Tanlines, Foals, Generationals, White Arrows, Starf*cker, Body Language, Yeasayer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Trails and Ways
Recommended Tracks: Track 2, “The Gates,” Track 3, “So Cruel,” Track 4, “Ghosts,” Track 9, “Sunshine,” Track 10, “Uncover Your Eyes”
Going for Adds 9/7 & 9/8