East India Youth - Hostel EP

East India Youth’s real strength is being able to balance a whole hod of ideas in a very deft manner. It’s smartly tailored, urbane, soulful music, but independent and with enough teeth showing to keep the listener on their toes.

(Quietus Phonographic Corporation)

This is really great! A little off kilter maybe, but that's to be expected from the Quietus, who have - surprisingly - started a label. I’m sure it’ll all be in the best possible taste. Their first release is this, The Hostel EP: a set of reflective, urban soundscapes that are given shape by a synth sheen previously beloved of Coldwave dudes, Krautrock wildboys and them hoary old New Romantix…

There are moments on here where you would be forgiven in thinking that East India Youth (known to his mam as William Doyle) seems to be mildly in love with a sonic territory long been rendered toxic by Midge Ure’s Ultravox: but despite some obvious similarities, (a strong melodic element, a discernible dash of “soulboy”), it’s more in line the things that John Foxx or Richard Strange (as in the Phenomenal Rise era) used to release. It’s also a very wistful record: you can imagine him being one of those blokes who stand still in tube stations, eating his lunch whilst watching people peg frantically past him.

There are 4 tracks to talk about; the steady opener Looking For Someone, the travelogue cum bedroom rave that is Coastal Reflections and two takes on Heaven How Long: a track whose melodious and mellifluous synths have something of that La? Neu! / Dinger “Ich Liebe Dich” grandeur to them, especially when it kicks off. In fact, when Heaven How Long does kick off you sort of expect (or, well, hope) that Klaus D will be let out of Valhalla and come riding down in a golden VW chariot to add some zany Düsseldorf yelping & buzzsaw guitar to it all, but instead the track sticks pluckily to an ever-building riff. It’s really great stuff.    

East India Youth’s real strength is being able to balance a whole hod of ideas in a very deft manner. It’s smartly tailored, urbane, soulful music, but independent and with enough teeth showing to keep the listener on their toes. You can hear this on what I certainly think is the best track on the EP, Coastal Reflections, which boasts the sort of metallic synth pulse that powered Warm Leatherette or  Being Boiled. The voice also makes me think of the Minds’ Twist/Run/Repulsion(!) albeit a version broadcast live to an astonished nation by a stoned Charlotte Green on her last day at Radio 4. Enough wild fantasies, it’s a supremely trippy track successfully nestling between some cosy Radiophonic memory and elegantly arranged white noise, AND with a tremendous, “hands in the air” rave after-kick. That should be enough hyperbole to make you realise it’s ace, non?  Finally we’re back in Dinger territory with a remix of Heaven How Long which starts off (and carries on) like Koksknödel, but I am not complaining about that.

So, a sort of future past vibe: elegant, sure of touch, and possessing a knack of hooking you in, but also tough enough to control any flabbiness. This lad could make a hell of an LP. You just know it.