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As always at this time of year one record becomes the go-to disc for all the various publications who want to remain artificially upbeat about the new year. Imploring you about the genius of some record or other until breaking down and pretending that you like it is the easier option. Remember ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’ Yeah? Yeah.
East India Youth have come from seemingly nowhere to become this January’s press darlings with this, their debut full length release. In fact when tastemakers The Quietus form a label just to release your debut EP then East India Youth’s sole incumbent William Doyle must have known he was onto something special. This album has arrived in such a blaze of publicity that you are not quite sure whether its all a bit too good to be true so lets us take a sober look at its various merits.
First track ‘Glitter Recession’ is an excellent intro piece of glistening Philip Glass influenced electronics before bursting into ‘Total Life Forever Part 1’, a wonderful slow building fuzzy electronic piece of post-rock influenced bliss. Coming across like Fuck Buttons trying to play some early Aphex Twin from memory it has all the right moves in the right places. If you are taken in by this sonic maelstrom then you may be surprised at what comes next. ‘Dripping Down’ introduces the more ‘pop’ element of his oevre with a wan singing style and fizzing melodies. I’m not totally sure that the image of new love dripping down your soul is overly attractive. I mean.... ‘drip’? Its a good job he marries this to a tune which will have the whistle police on red alert. Alarmingly catchy, it has the ravey balearic Animal Collective of ‘My Girls’ dripping through its ecstatic grooves. I hummed it as I moved the bin bags, whistled it as I fetched the cardboard stiffeners from the delivery drivers van.
‘Hinterland’ though is a slab of dough faced soft boy techno, the sound of suburban lads trying out their new gear in the comfort of their own homes. ‘Heaven How Long’ confirms that there is nothing special about Doyle’s voice......yet. I say ‘yet’ as I’m sure there is more to come from it - at the moment its just getting by, helped on its way by some easy building fuzzing synths and a burst of yearning chorus which elevates the track into something you might waggle your fingers in the air to as if you are at a Coldplay concert. ‘Looking For Someone’ starts out acapella, soon bursting into a thumping electronic piece which becomes one of the more unusual pieces on offer, the way he hits an unexpected chord over the repeating vocal refrain is impressive.
Throughout, the main vocal tracks are interspersed by many instrumental interludes of varying quality, other than the opening double whammy by far the most impressive is ‘Total Strife Forever Part 3’. Here, the record reminds me of the fantastic sole Khonnor record from a few years ago, great big burst of ambient sounds between the more structured efforts. The album, although only really impressing on a handful of occasions, is certainly a strong effort. Well put together, it flows nicely, its certainly more experimental and less poppy than I’d imagined, the strength being in how the tracks work together as a whole. The hype then this time is partly justified.
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- Total Strife Forever by East India Youth
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