Total Strife Forever

East India Youth

Released: 13 January 2014

Genre: Pop

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William Doyle looks set to be one of 2014’s finest electro-auteurs – but that wasn’t his original intention.

Until a few months ago, the fresh-faced Doyle was the front man in an unheralded Libertines-lite indie band, Doyle and the Forefathers. When the unremarkable group came to an equally unremarkable end, he retreated to his bedroom and his laptop for this new solo venture.

Taking his name from his home area of East India in London’s Docklands, Doyle now unveils the fruits of his labours. It’s a wide-ranging, curious and frequently staggering album, which demonstrates that he is no respecter of musical boundaries.

In fact, there appears to be no limit to East India Youth’s musical imagination. At times Doyle could be an edgier, more brittle James Blake, unfurling winningly serrated synths on the opening Glitter Recession and, on the divine Heaven How Long, delivering the infatuated line, “I cannot give more than my heart.”

Elsewhere, though, he is a different musical proposition entirely. Hinterland is a throbbing, thrilling floor-filler that Disclosure or Rudimental would love to boast in their set; the four experimental interludes Total Strife Forever I-IV are pensive, symphonic reveries for long, dark nights of the soul.

Doyle only contributes a halting, whispered vocal to four tracks, but his musical voice comes through loud and clear. We are only just into 2014, and one of its key albums has already arrived.

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