East India Youth
Culture of Volume


3.5
great

Review

by oahmed USER (7 Reviews)
April 9th, 2015 | 25 replies


Release Date: 04/06/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Brighter is better

Culture of Volume, East India Youth’s latest offering, begins about how you’d expect it to: An erratic, helicopter propeller, bass-synth mood piece that is indebted to late 1970’s David Bowie. Going off of this, however, one couldn’t be faulted if they didn’t take this as a red herring. In recent interviews, Doyle has expressed interest in becoming more of a frontman, and relishing the directness and hooks that often comes with it. East India Youth’s debut album, Total Strife Forever, was chock full of influences and ideas, jumping from pulsing electronic instrumentals to songs like Heaven, How Long and Dripping Down that balanced the synths and atmospheric approach with enough emotional heft and hooks to stand out as highlights. Yet these moments were in the minority, as Doyle’s propensity for needlessly extended instrumentals kneecapped his debut to a certain extent. The cool, detached, and experimental nature could be summed up with Total Strife Forever’s album cover: a cold and pallid portrait of Doyle with white lines running across his face. The cover for Culture of Volume still bears Doyle’s face, but facing a different direction with a warmer orange and slightly pixelated background, informing the listener of the changes that are in store for Doyle’s creative process. Tempered with straightforward, hook-centric, heart-on-sleeve inclinations, Doyle has built upon Total Strife Forever’s aesthetic and has avoided the second album pitfalls, creating a more enjoyable and varied work in the process.

For the most part, Culture of Volume boasts brighter synths and a cleaner, more pristine production that quite often puts Doyle’s voice at the forefront in contrast to the reverb and aural obfuscation heard on his debut. Yet despite that desire to streamline, Doyle expresses his surprise at how Culture of Volume turned out, both in interviews and in song. In fact, the first line we hear Doyle sing is on End Result: “The end result is not what was in mind/ The end result is always hard to find”. Other ideas bolster this lyric, as a subtle yet insistent xylophone line that adds texture and melody while live drums snap and crackle with energy. Turn Away is another highlight, melding together bright synths, hooks and syncopated drums together with a good dollop of 80’s melodrama: “Turn away/ I never should be seen to be falling from grace/ but here I am again today/ with nothing on my tongue/ but all these reasons why I shouldn’t stay.” Beaming White is a Neil Tennant-indebted song with modern sensibilities, reworking the best elements of Please-era Pet Shop Boys into a propulsive groove underpinning a sensational sequence of hooks.

Yet Doyle’s latest offering isn’t merely an album disguised as a collection of energetic singles. Hearts That Never is bit of a slow burner, using its almost seven minute length to gradually build tension and atmosphere into an effective club jam. Carousel serves as the emotional center, where warm synth washes and ambient drones swell and recede against Doyle’s tender vocal tastefully saturated with reverb. It’s a rousing number, with Doyle using few words to convey such an emotional punch while letting the musical buildup handle the emotional lifting in equal measure. Don’t Look Backwards has synth arpeggios and washes alongside dueling piano progressions: one that is modern-sounding and well-tuned; the other showing its age, almost sounding saloon-like. This instrumental clashing provides a subtle contrast in texture that works wonders for the song.

With the plethora of ideas on display, it stands to reason that not everything works here on Culture of Volume. Entirety rides a fairly generic industrial groove and fails to build upon it aside from a brief ambient bridge halfway through. Manner of Words has its share of energy and hooks in its first half but doesn’t fully earn its needlessly extended outro, and Montage Resolution is an odd closer, reverting back to and mining ideas already expanded upon earlier in the album. However, it’s a welcome change to hear Doyle’s penchant for idea-stuffing countered by the focus on melody, accessibility, and variety. While this batch of songs may have been hard-fought and not what was in mind for Doyle, if he can continue to build upon his new approach, one can look forward to his next end result with intrigue and eagerness.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
oahmed
April 9th 2015


77 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoyed writing this review. Any feedback is welcome.

Digging: Laura Marling - Semper Femina

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2015


11555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

awesome, cant wait to check this out. loved total strife forever but agreed with your point about the more meandering instrumentals weighing it down

TheWrenKing
April 9th 2015


1237 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very nice review, oughta put some time aside for this, TSF was a great listen

LordePots
April 9th 2015


36573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

so much worse than the debut. this was the disappointment of the year for me so far. they lost all their uniqueness and charm.

Digging: Frederic Robinson - Flea Waltz

NorthernSkylark
April 9th 2015


8402 Comments


damn.

Digging: Manuel Gottsching - E2-E4

TwigTW
April 9th 2015


2324 Comments


"Culture of Volume, East India Youth’s latest offering, begins about how you’d expect it to: An erratic, helicopter propeller, bass-synth mood piece that is indebted to late 1970’s David Bowie." . . .Yes! The intro to the first song is lifted straight from Bowie's 1978 live album version of "Station to Station."

Didn't notice it before, but now that you've mentioned Bowie, It's hard not to compare the cover to Low.

Digging: Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens

TwigTW
April 9th 2015


2324 Comments


After the first listen I'm not disappointed, because it's immediate and satisfying, but it's not as challenging and interesting as the first album.

Nice review, by the way.

oahmed
April 9th 2015


77 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed on both counts, Twig. Thanks for the kind words!

Aids
April 10th 2015


24389 Comments


man these guys kill it with the album titles

MyCarandMyGuitar
April 10th 2015


1833 Comments


from the front page the cover looks like Bo Burnham

LordePots
April 11th 2015


36573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah its not interesting or challenging and it's immediately not that satisfying that why it is way worse

LordePots
April 11th 2015


36573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah its not interesting or challenging and it's immediately not that satisfying that why it is way worse

TwigTW
April 15th 2015


2324 Comments


^Lol, yes, I see what you are saying . . . I'm already back listening to the first one.

LordePots
April 15th 2015


36573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

:p. i loved the first one a lot and was hoping this would take what they were doing there and approve upon it but instead we this vapid pile of slightly above average indie B.S.

TheWrenKing
April 15th 2015


1237 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Don't Look Backwards more like Don't Look Forwards am I right?

LordePots
April 15th 2015


36573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dont look backwards is apt because they decided to completely disregard what worked and what was unique about their last album in favour of doing something completely cookie cutter and blending themselves in with the other million average synth pop bands

TheWrenKing
April 15th 2015


1237 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The working title was Don't Look, Walk Blindly Into Bland Indie Pop Tropes

LordePots
April 15th 2015


36573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yes

oahmed
April 15th 2015


77 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I certainly agree that the good tracks on Total Strife Forever offered more with each listen, but the title tracks to me had no business being on the debut due to their repetitive and overly long nature. Sure, you hear everything there is to hear on Culture of Volume within the first couple listens, but the hooks and energy made up for it in my opinion.



Oh well, to each his own.

LordePots
April 15th 2015


36573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the self titled tracks could have been handled better and were the one criticism i had with the album. which is why i was expecting this to be a progression from that album - keeping with the eclectic vibes but refining the ambience or 'filler' to offer more substance. instead they just put together a dump of derivative synth pop offering no progression over the first album and a complete stylistic change for the absolute worst.



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