East India Youth, gig review: 'A fascinating project that feels very much in its early stages'

The Lexington, London

Elisa Bray
Friday 07 February 2014 18:39 GMT

There’s been considerable buzz over East India Youth, 23-year-old London-based William Doyle, who last month released his debut album "Total Strife Forever". It’s hard to know what to expect tonight, and how a performance of songs that dart between Harold Budd-esque neo-classical soundscapes, Brian Eno ambience, Detroit techno, and the electro-pop of Pet Shop Boys, could be anything other than disjointed.

But his seamless flow from one track to the next ensures a cohesiveness that pulls together the wildly differing tracks. If that means less interaction with the crowd, he does his best to avoid the crowd alienation that befalls so many laptop performances. He throws his all into strong, expressive vocals, sometimes recalling Thom Yorke, on the euphoric multi-part “Heaven, How Long” and the melodic pop of “Dripping Down”, headbanging as he channels Colin Greenwood on bass guitar, or as one hand flows over rippling keys while the other tackles the knobs of a synthesiser. The throbbing techno of "Hinterland" is a rousing finale.

It’s live that these Radiohead influences come to the fore. But then so does Max Richter. And Polar Pear. East India Youth is a fascinating project that feels very much in its early stages. When Doyle chooses a path, who knows where it will end.

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