Review: East India Youth – Total Strife Forever
Published on January 28th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
East India Youth’s debut album Total Strife Forever sounds like an early contender for ‘crossover’ hit of the year, at least if you gauge ‘hit’ in terms of quality over sales.
It’s loosely reminiscent of Grumbling Fur’s Glynnaestra LP of last year in this regard, with more emphasis on the lysergic electronica and fewer instances of flat-out songwriting.
We get two buzzing, swelling, glacial electronic soundscapes to start with, so it’s not until third track “Dripping Down” that we’re treated to William Doyle’s agreeable vocals – it’s here that a canny melodic streak is revealed, one that never feels in danger of uprooting Total Strife Forever from its own fertile breeding ground of experimentation.
“Dripping Down” really is startling, reminding a little of Merriweather Post Pavilion-era Animal Collective with its fluttering synth and carnivalesque rhythm all acid-soaked and wondrous, even a little of The Beach Boys with its reverb-drenched a cappella breakdown sections.
And we mean ‘carnivalesque’ in the sense of being ‘suggestive of a carnival’, by the way, as opposed to the Mikhail Bakhtin sense of the word. You know, in case that wasn’t clear.
We’re then flung back into rhythmically involved electronica on “Hinterland”, which builds up a beguiling head of steam, before the verging-on-synthpop “Heaven, How Long” gradually metamorphoses into something approaching scratchy garage rock at its conclusion.
“Looking for Someone” reintroduces the a cappella singing then rides itself out of town on whirring electronic oddness, off in the direction of the twinkling wilderness that calls itself “Midnight Koto”…look, it’s all good stuff.
Total Strife Forever? Absolute joy right now, more like. How’s that for positively inflected sarcasm?
Total Strife Forever is out now on Stolen Recordings.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!