East India Youth is 23 year old William Doyle, a talented man from the shores of Bournemouth. The name comes from East India Docks, the place where he worked on his debut Mercury nominated album, Total Strife Forever. “Bournemouth Youth” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Culture Of Volume is his second album released on the impressive XL Recordings label. XL is home to the likes of The Prodigy and MIA so I am expecting great things. I am not disappointed.
This album is a remarkable disjointed affair. It is the result of a boy who started playing in an indie twee-type band and became a man on an electronic, ambient landscape. It is sophisticated and intelligent and it demands that you listen to electronic music free from restraints and structures.
The opening track is an instrumental, distorted piece called ‘The Juddering’ and it is kind of fitting. It’s rapid, unsettling and nothing like what I was expecting. He has my attention. The song that follows, ‘End Result’, is a completely different musical outing. The vocals kick in and it is almost pop-like in its delivery. He has a great voice does our William, and he uses it to maximum effect.
‘Beaming White’ is a nifty little number reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys. It could easily have been lifted from one of their albums. It has elements of Tom Vek in it also. There are traces of Bright Eyes in his work too; especially from the album Digital Ash In A Digital Urn.
‘Turn Away’ is a beautiful track and shows a maturity beyond the years of the artist. I love the way the music ebbs and flows in and out of his thought provoking vocals. The opening of ‘Hearts That Never’ is reminiscent of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’. The music is amazing in this track as he cries out “Hearts that never, ever let you go”.
At times this is a dance album and at times this is a music experience that should be listened to while sitting still, simply absorbing it. ‘Entirety’ is such an engaging piece while ‘Carousel’ is far removed from the dance track that precedes it. The vocals are haunting and the whole feel of the song leaves me feeling melancholy. It reminds me of Pulp’s ‘Wickerman’ at times.
This album is a feast of 10 songs and easily in my top albums of 2015 so far. It is frightening to think of what else he can achieve. He has so many musical years ahead of him. William makes no secret of the fact that he is influenced by the work of Brian Eno and there are echoes of Eno’s work in this. He has met his hero and they have a mutual respect for each other. This may lead to a future collaboration.
The album cover gives nothing away. I would have had William standing over the body of electronic music with its heart in his hand screaming, “See? Electronic music has a heart!” – but perhaps the subtle yet arty loner portrait cover tells a better story.
Culture Of Volume is out now via XL Recordings.