Photos by Amanda Farah
Last time we saw East India Youth in Copenhagen, he was opening for Factory Floor at a more or less deserted gig at Vega. Already a year and a half ago, when all Will Doyle had to his moniker was the Hostel EP, we recognized an artist on an undeniable ascent. Now, after two albums and a nomination for the Mercury Prize, East India Youth is the main act.
As a live act, East India Youth is a testament to passion and virtuousity. Doyle stands alone on stage, surrounded by keyboards, laptops and drum machines, a bass guitar around his neck and drum sticks in his hand, like a sharply dressed Wizard of Oz, controlling his fantastical universe from the shadows. The set begins with “The Juddering”, a glitchy instrumental that slowly emerges from static into lush synth orchestrations, before transitioning into “Turn Away”, his latest single. Doyle’s voice soars above the background, reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, clear like a choirboy.
East India Youth shifts between the angelic and energetic, electronic and analogue, experimental and anthemic. There is a restlessness at the heart of his music, though that has evolved from Total Strife Forever‘s austerity into the warm colours of Culture of Volume. That transition is reflected in the live renditions of older songs like “Heaven, How Long”, which effervesce with random modulations.
It’s unfortunate that at the height of “Hinterland”, which has the whole room nodding and twitching, the sound suddenly cuts out. After a few minutes of jumbling around with wires, a chance for the audience to catch its breath, Doyle is back online, launching back into the track with even more abandon than before.
The set draws to a close after less than an hour, not nearly enough to do justice to the amount of material produced in the last 18 months. I am a little disappointed not to have heard “End Result”, my favourite track from the last album, or the wonderfully cheesy “Beaming White”, but that’s just an excuse to catch another East India Youth gig as soon as possible.