An eclectic, experimental and diverse debut from East India Youth
The debut album from East India Youth has been dividing critics sharply into two categories, find out if Subba-Cultcha was a lover or hater.
East India Youth - Total Strife Forever 9/10
Out Now on Stolen RecordingsThe debut album from East India Youth (William Doyle) is a complex and beautiful journey through music. Citing his influences as Tim Hecker, Brian Eno, the orchestral/electronic combinations found on Bjork’s
Homogenic and Sufjan Stevens
Age of Adz, and classical works by Shostakovich and Arvo Part, it’s a wide, eclectic and rich pool of inspiration. The album was recorded at home over a period of three years, but the process itself was more than just recording an album it was a time of personal transition and inspiration.
Total Strife Forever is best listened to in its entirety and doesn’t work as well on shuffle play, it is a pure concept album. Something that once so common and revered, now seemingly absent from our instantly accessible need for immediate music. Centred around a distinct instrumental theme of
Total Strife Forever I, II, III and
IV, these sounds and moments of music loosely link the album together. The last and final piece of the musical puzzle was the track
Heaven How Long, his self proclaimed centrepiece of the record where ‘structure and composition [are] a perfect marriage between the experimental electronic tendencies and the songwriting’. The album is frequently ambient (
Midnight Koto), it journeys through Detroit techno (
Hinterland), to the brightest and melodic electronic pop (
Looking for Someone) via classical (
Song for A Granular Piano). The current single
Dripping Down is a glorious, techno inspired, warmly tinged pop song; it cuts a stark contrast with the instrumental bleakness and abstract nature of the rest of the album. Like David Bowie’s seminal
Low and subsequent Berlin period it's brilliantly abstract and stark yet in places so richly infused with pop melodies you'll feel like you've skipped to a different album. There are sparse instrumental soundscapes that evoke the musical sensibilities of say
Warszawa, cool yet deeply intense. Vocally it quivers between pure pop pleasure and haunted soul and there are insane techno and beats so intense they eclipse even Radiohead’s finest
Kid A moments. Such a mixture of genres could come across as schizophrenic or indecisive but not in this case. There's an angle of starkness and steely eyed coolness that runs through each track loosely but ultimately linking it all together. Not only is it one of the most exciting debut albums it could possibly be the album of 2014.