LIVE: East India Youth – Deaf Institute, Manchester

When East India Youth released his debut record TOTAL STRIFE FOREVER last year it was truly a breath of fresh air.

The album presented an intriguing and engaging take on experimental electronic pop that caused Far Out Magazine to sit up and take notice right from the off.

What followed was a torrent of accolades from every publication under the sun and a Mercury Prize nomination.

Then earlier this year is was announced that William Doyle had secured a shiny new deal on XL Recordings. We were then treated to Culture of Volume last month.

Last night Far Out caught him taking the record on tour at Manchester’s Deaf Institute.

It is an occasion that confirms him as one of the most impressive multi-instrumental solo artists in the UK right now.

He enters with a gripping synth intro that is immersive and danceable in equal measure, demonstrating Doyle’s ability to switch between crafted pop melodies and immersive beat-heavy thrillers in a heartbeat.

An early highlight is recent single ‘Turn Away’, which sees East India Youth veer away from the song’s pop structure. He picks up a bass and vibes out right in front of the amp, creating an encapsulating sideshow of distortion and reverb that takes the rendition to another level.

In all honesty, beyond this the best moments come from the first record. ‘Dripping Down’ is a thrilling mangling of 80s pop, marrying a heartfelt vocal with electronic peaks and troughs.

It’s hard to place the live show really. Is it a strobed-up techno rave? A boneshaking krautrock expedition? Or a an art-pop masterpiece? The answer is probably a enthralling mutation of all three.

The most obvious voyage into dance music is undoubtedly ‘Hinterland’ – a former Far Out Track of the Day last summer.

But the best moment of the evening has to be an extended rendtion of ‘Heaven, How Long’. After a false start (“piece of shit”, Doyle mutters at his malfunctioning equipment) he recovers in the most glorious way possible.

The song’s initially succinct feel is blown wide open and transformed into something completely otherworldly. Every pair of eyes in the room are fixated on Doyle – a concept that must seem occasionally daunting for a man who has committed to putting on a one-man show.

As he picks up the bass for one final time what follows is a noise-rock instrumental that is as industrial as it is ethereal. Snappily dressed in a tight-fit suit, sweat can be seen cascading down Doyle’s brow as he turns up the intensity for an exciting crescendo.

East India Youth is one of the most talented, versatile and ambitious live performers around at the moment. If you get the chance, don’t miss out.

Patrick Davies
 

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