William Doyle’s debut album as East India Youth demonstrates an extensive array of influences and reference points. Over the course of the album, Doyle touches on acid house, ambient, krautrock, synthpop and even gospel. He demonstrates his innovative compositional abilities alongside a unique pop sensibility and impressive songwriting skills, which results in Total Strife Forever being both original and accessible. Shimmering synth arpeggios accompanied by mournful piano chords open it, a combination of electronic beauty and human emotion which together perfectly encapsulate the feel of the album as a whole.
Total Strife Forever is a remarkable example of variation; ‘Hinterland’ is almost a dance track, all squiggly basslines and pounding four-to-the-floor drums. Testament to Doyle’s talent, the album manages to feel coherent, both in sound and in concept. Tying the more experimental tracks together are the songs featuring Doyle’s vocals, which are the emotional heart of the album. Lyrically introspective, it explores themes of love, longing and loneliness, echoing the bleak instrumentation. Doyle’s fragile voice heightens the emotional impact of these brilliant pop songs.