By Julia Prigmore (@JuliaPrigmore)
The Gates, the latest release from Toronto trio Young Empires, is an evolutionary step ahead of their previous output. Previous EP Wake All My Youth is overwhelmed here with defiant, heavy electro beats and catchy melodic chants, standing tall in the alternative dance and indie pop scene.
The sonic fluidity of the album is a reflection of its recording process. Vlahovich has stated that the trio nurtured an experimental, unrestricted atmosphere in the studio, playing each other’s instruments and ignoring the restrictions of their genre.
The album as a whole tackles many of life’s grievances; fear, love, loss and isolation. The title track contains all the right ingredients to deliver the overall flavor of the album; Taylor Hill’s echoing drumbeats and Jacob Palahnuk’s anthemic bass accompanying Matthew Vlahovich’s effervescent vocals. However, it isn’t all buoyant dance pop beats. The lyrics convey a deeper message. Written during a period of depression, the song confronts issues of loneliness and isolation. Thankfully this emotional low is fleeting, with the lighthearted and jovial ‘Sunshine’ closing out The Gates, reminiscent of Foster the people’s ‘Pumped up Kicks’.
A clever concoction of life’s heavy matters delivered via the medium of optimistic beats, The Gates demonstrates that these Young Empires are capable of unifying their kingdoms.