EAST INDIA YOUTH
TOTAL STRIFE FOREVER (Stolen Recordings)
And lo, propelled by a veritable blitzkrieg of hype comes William Doyle’s first full-length as East India Youth. Initially, we were perplexed; on first listens, Total Strife Forever came across as a perfectly competent, stirring and interesting record, though most striking for its subtle similarities to underrated Saddle Creek also-rans Now It’s Overhead.
Not a bad thing by any means, but hardly worthy of the myriad proclamations of genius being chucked at it. Now, though, maybe we get it. Sonically, this is pristine stuff, and TSF is at its most satisfying when Doyle ditches the earnest gospel grandeur and yearning vocals in favour of hi-def, glittering synth workouts peppered with technoid and kosmiche inflections, and spectral waves of headily ambient oscillatory noise. The eponymous four-track suite, Glitter Recession’s Hecker/Emeralds amalgam and the ecstatic closing minutes of Heaven How Long are all wonderful, though it’s the shimmering pinprick haze of Midnight Koto that acts as the record’s transcendent core.
Maybe it’s harsh to suggest that Doyle should have cut this down to an excellent EP rather than run with a merely very good full-length – and perhaps the more we soak up Total Strife Forever the more we’ll eat our words – but there’s more than enough here to indicate the unveiling of a nascent and hugely capable auteur.
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Words: Tom Howells