East India Youth – 'Total Strife Forever' album review

A brilliant bedroom album of piercing electronic pop finally sees the light of day



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Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

It was back in 2012 that William Doyle’s album ‘Total Strife Forever’ first surfaced. Adopting the moniker East India Youth (a reference to the East India DLR station he was living by), Doyle had turned his back on the Smiths-y indie-pop of his former band, Doyle & The Fourfathers, and instead started mucking about with electronic instruments in his bedroom. This, he felt, was the future for his music.

He was right. At the end of that year he posted his full-length solo album online, and hoped for the best. It didn’t take long for taste-making London listeners (Time Out included) to fall in love with its eerie soundscapes and piercingly sad pop songs, and for Doyle to decide to make a proper, professional go of being East India Youth.

It’s only now, after a year of artist tweaking and feverish fan anticipation, that ‘Total Strife Forever’ gets its official release. Its legend is well-deserved – songs like ‘Looking For Someone’ and ‘Heaven, How Long’ match folksily sweet choruses with the buzzy, krautrock-influenced churn of avant-dance act Fuck Buttons, while ‘Dripping Down’ is a miserablist carnival – equal parts upbeat percussion and emotional pain. ‘Down to the Docklands, you’re all out of options, you keep on hurting…’ sings Doyle on that track, with stoic tunefulness.

‘Total Strife Forever’ is dark and kind of depressing. It features long stretches of ambient noise, and some aggressively pounding beats. But it also has moments of acute sincerity to melt anyone’s wintry heart. We might be on the DLR to nowhere, Doyle seems to be saying, but at least we can ride it together.

Buy this album here

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Listen to 'Total Strife Forever' on Spotify

Watch the video for 'Dripping Down'

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