East India Youth – Culture of Volume

8 04 2015

eastindiayouthCulture of Volume, the second album from East India Youth, opens with The Juddering, an instrumental that starts off spitting out a synth- line reminiscent of Bowie’s title track to Station to Station, before the big synths take over.

Culture of Volume is not an instrumental album, the majority of the tracks feature vocal performances, the first of which, End Result, sneaks in some Duran Duran sounding synth flavours, and displays an intelligent, expansive arrangement.

Beaming White, though driven by mid-80’s sounding synths in the intro, has a feel of Delphic‘s Acolyte album. And that’s a key point with this album – William Doyle (aka East India Youth) is clearly influenced by the 80’s sounds of Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Ryuichi Sakamoto, John Foxx and Soft Cell but he writes songs that are contemporary, with vocals more inspired by Wild Beasts and Everything Everything than his apparent 80s influences.

Hearts That Never is one of the more up-tempo pieces, with a great bass-line and rolling percussion. The hands-in-the-air anthem Entirety is lifted by the sweet keyboard lines towards the middle of the pacey, at times industrial track.

The stand-out song for me is Carousel, which has shades of The Garden era John Foxx, and a real 1980’s 4AD feel in the use of long, spacey reverbs. Beatless and beautiful, it’s a moving piece of music, especially the slowly distorting outro, which has a little of the feel of The Disintegration Loops by William Basinski.

The straight-forward pop of Don’t Look Backwards has a dreamy treated piano and strings ending, which plays perfectly into my second favourite track, the 10 minute plus Manner of Words. Slow-burning textured pads and lead lines give way to disintegration and decay.

The album closes with Montage Resolution, another instrumental soundscape built from layers of jagged reverb-heavy lines underpinned by a deep synth.

This is the first music I’ve heard from East India Youth, and its piqued my interest enough to seek out their debut album, Total Strife Forever.

Buy Culture of Volume CD or download on Amazon

Buy Total Strife Forever on CD or download at Amazon





Laura Groves – Committed Language (EP)

18 02 2015

committedThis is Laura Groves second EP, the follow-up to 2013’s dreamlike Thinking About Thinking (EP).

You might be aware of Laura’s previous work as Blue Roses, and the often raw, inspired by the northern landscape acoustic songs from their 2009 debut (and only) album. The music released under Laura’s own name is much more layered and electronic, though still finding the space to add guitar and live bass to good effect on some songs.

EP opener Committed Language could have jumped straight out of your dusty old cassette copy of Now That’s What I Call Music 1984 – with it’s warm analogue Japan‘esque synths, and off-kilter percussion. I hear some of the playful song-arrangements of Todd Rundgren, and the electronic experimentation of Chimera era Bill Nelson in some of Grove’s recent material, and Committed Language is no exception to this.

Dream Story has grown from the demo version that I heard online around 3 years ago, and is now driven by production (especially the bass and drum machine) that recalls Fleetwood Mac‘s Tango In The Night. Dream Story takes a few wonderful diversions along the way, and the lead-in to the chorus is as smooth as the world’s smoothest thing. And that’s smooth.

Have a listen to a stream of the song from Laura’s SoundCloud page below.

Friday is a piano and rhodes ballad, that slowly builds as sugar-sweet backing vocals flit around the lead vocal. The most direct arrangement on this 4 song EP, and a moving song.

lgroves

The EP closes with Mystique, a slow-burning jazzy track. Hazy chorused guitar washes through a song Steely Dan would be proud of (if they didn’t spend 45 years perfecting the reverb on the snare). Mystique repays your faith after repeated listens, as new highlights make themselves known to you as this haunting song really gets under your skin.

I recently bought a wonderful yacht pop / yacht rock compilation called Too Slow For Disco, and the tracks on this EP would not have sounded out-of-place in that era, the magical period between 1975 and the mid 1980s. The 80s are often described as being a light, superficial musical decade, but a lot of colourful, adventurous music was released during that time – it wasn’t all Wham! and Haircut 100.

The jazz inflections, bold arrangements and synth / rhodes layers give the music on this EP a warm, nostalgic identity that fits the sad songs on Committed Language. Now, where is that album Laura?

“I think I’m ready now, bring back the mystery…”

Buy Laura Groves – Committed Language (EP) on bandcamp

Buy the Blue Roses CD on Amazon








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