Less than a year after his debut, the appallingly titled Total Strife Forever, burst onto the scene in a wave of hype, electronic whizzkid and social media busy body William Doyle is back after signing to big label XL. This is sure to be one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the year; his euphoric live shows have helped build him an excitable fan base who will be slavering right now. This better be good, right?
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“A little bit more glossy” was the NME’s understated take on this second album from electronic wonderkid East India Youth. I’d say a LOT more glossy ...at times David Guetto glossy. As glossy as a glossy print from Superprints. The album opens with ‘The Juddering’, an intro really - just some squelshy synths. ‘End Result’ meanwhile takes an age to get going, an upwardly climbing vocal melody is followed by some distorted skittery drums and a slightly off kilter vocal melody. So far...so umm.
I was reading recently about the difference between UK and US music listeners (hang on, I'm going somewhere with this, honest)- whereas US listeners favour authenticity and realness, in the UK we celebrate pop and in the case of East India Youth this is blatantly obvious. The album is in awe of the early 80’s stadium synth of the ZTT bands, Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode. This is a sheer pop album, synthetic, chart aiming and skyscraping. Both ‘The Beaming’ and ‘Turn Away’ have transparent melodies that are insidiously catchy - you can imagine him entombed in dry ice with a bank of synths by his side sweating over a baying pumping crowd.
From there the album takes a more danceable turn, ‘Hearts That Never’ and ‘Entity’ are chart house power plays - the latter is Guetto in all but name. But then the album changes tack again with a sop-ballad triple bill to see the album out. ‘Carousel’, ‘Don’t Look Backwards’ and ‘Manner of Words’ are all different variations on weeptronica - think Postal Service, think Junior Boys....perhaps think of Savage Garden.
It's big bold and bright, East India Youth is far too interested in streamlining to create something completely innovative. This is music that looks backwards for inspiration, to the early 80’s popscene and the ‘90’s dance scene and adds a modern pop sheen whilst it’s at it. But it needs more grit, more daring to be truly transcendental. Bland sells...and this will too but its plenty catchy enough for those that don't want to think too hard.
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