Review: East India Youth, Culture Of Volume


Bobby Townsend considers the sophomore LP from London-based East India Youth:

When William Doyle, better known as East India Youth, dropped his solo debut, Total Strife Forever, in January 2014, it was deservedly nominated for the Mercury Prize. Now, a little over a year on, he returns.

While his profile has grown, joyfully his recording methods haven’t. Culture Of Volume was – much like his debut – mainly pieced together on his own, in his London bedroom. His vision was to make “quite sophisticated music using very unsophisticated means.” Mission accomplished.

Opening track, The Juddering, eases the listener in with the kind of textured, ambient soundscape that peppered his debut album, after which Doyle happily changes direction. End Result seems to have one foot in 90s indie/electro and the other in 80s power-balladry while Beaming White starts like a lost Pet Shops Boys tune. Meanwhile, lead single Turn Away is epic, soaring pop, as is Hearts That Never. These songs illustrate how he mixes commercial sensibilities with interesting experimentation and is never happier than when jumping between genres. This is made even clearer by the fact that this quartet of tunes is followed by the industrial, high energy dance of Entirety, the theatrical, synthy Carousel and the ten-minute-long, cinematic Manner of Words. Incidentally, keep your ears open for string parts laid down by ol’ buddy of Something You Said, Hannah Peel.

Far from being jarring, the record’s lack of cohesion is what makes it great. It’s a glorious hotchpotch of ideas and sounds which further proves William Doyle to be a brilliant songwriter who delights in pushing creative boundaries while knowing how to deliver absolutely killer tunes to hold together his more abstract, experimental elements. In Culture of Volume, he has crafted an early frontrunner for 2015’s best album.

Culture Of Volume is out now via XL Recordings / Remote Control.

bobby townsend


Review by Bobby Townsend.