The Gospel Youth – ‘Always Lose’

By Kathryn Black

The Gospel Youth have already found a place in the hearts of plenty. With heartfelt lyrics and melodies that possess that intangible ability to stir your emotions, they tread the line between pop rock and pop punk with ease and they’re a band it’s not hard to fall in love with.

Following the success of last year’s singles club during which the band released a single a month instead of an album all at once, it was never going to be an easy job to write songs fans would love more than the likes of ‘Hurricane’ and ‘The Hospital Blues You Gave to Me’. New album ‘Always Lose’ may not affect you or punch you right in the gut in the same instantaneous way as their previous efforts, leaving you desperate to cling on to songs that’ll soundtrack sentimental moments, but it is still full of magic.

The strength and soul of Sam Little’s vocals are obvious throughout ‘Wildfire’, and peak during ‘Resolutions’ with some impressive piercing high notes, but it’s the vulnerability heard in the cracks and imperfections of his singing that give it its unique character and emotion. Little sings, “We all fight battles in ourselves / We all fight battles all the time,” and it’s a sentiment echoed throughout the record. Those battles of low self-esteem and a struggle to keep believing – but with an everlasting, underlying hope – are prominent in the band’s lyrics and Little has been somewhat of a spokesperson for those struggling with staying positive, often open about his personal life online. It’s another reason The Gospel Youth’s music has become so invaluable to their fans and the album provides ample opportunity for more emotive singalongs.

Despite the album’s consistency, there are some moments far more memorable than others. The uplifting chorus of ‘Tired Eyes & Heavy Hearts’ is far more inspiring than the verse, and ‘Moods Like English Weather’ could have easily been substituted for the lead single position by ‘I Will Deliver You To The Fireflies’ – it’s piano opening and minimalist bridge are irresistible.

That’s picking faults however and realistically it is joyful to watch a band who have worked for years, both in this format and previously, release the album we’ve been waiting for. The already released ‘Kids’ sounds as fresh as it did three years ago, carefree in spirit, wholesome and layered in style. ‘Gin & Black Coffee’ races along, a reminder of the band’s more alternative influences. Sure, they play pop rock – but they’re not just churning out something beige. The lyrics read like poems; the songs are musical therapy.

The soul in this record is undeniable and its emotion soars. Pop rock is back with a point to prove after a blip of dull cloned bands and The Gospel Youth are the band to lead the campaign. For anyone whose anxieties and struggles can seem overwhelming yet never give up hope, listen to and take comfort in this record. ‘Always Lose’? No chance. Whatever the future brings, The Gospel Youth are already winning.

KATHRYN BLACK

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