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As his 2014 debut album drew to a close, cracks began to show in East India Youth's monolithic electronica. The stark, brittle structures that had initially seemed to tower over all like city skyscrapers were now being drowned out by an increasing static. Not even Doyle's voice was impervious as he became harder to hear, adrift amidst waves of breaking electronics. Finally the album dissipated into a rhythmic white noise before fading out once and for all. One year later East India Youth has returned, the pulsating static giving way to an entirely new phase for the artist, reborn in a cataclysm of sound.

Fittingly, the opening track 'The Juddering' was recorded shortly after Total Strife Forever was completed and provides the bridge between East India Youth's debut and its follow-up, Culture Of Volume. Unlike the haunting, fatalistic destruction of 'Total Strife Forever IV', 'The Juddering' has a more percussive tone, it stutters and whirs around the listener, panning left and right like a machine coming to life - similar to the synthesised train that introduces David Bowie's 'Station To Station'. Doyle builds up layers of rising synthesisers, and the static subsides to a steady, electronic pulsing which rises and falls as it skips between channels. Deep, bass notes buzz in the background and slow contemplative chimes ring out above - ecclesiastical and euphoric they lend a sense of grandeur.

Despite its somewhat dissonant opening, 'The Juddering' comfortably segues into the calm twinkling keys of 'End Result'. "The end result," Doyle sings, "was not what was in mind," an opening line which perhaps best sums up this second album. Total Strife Forever was a bold electronic record that blended melody with chaos, and juxtaposed pop with experimentation to great effect and it's not a stretch to imagine that many people expected Doyle to repeat this for his follow-up. Whilst in no way a sudden change in direction, Culture Of Volume is a far more accessible record - yet it is also a much richer, far more textured effort than its predecessor.

'End Result' quickly establishes itself with shuffling, almost jazz influenced percussion, deep sustained notes, echoing rings and a swirl of synths and strings (the latter recorded by Hannah Peel). At times wildly melodramatic - particularly when Doyle sings of surrendering "to it's whims" - at others blissfully optimistic, it's a track that opens itself up for interpretation. Is it a prophecy of impending doom? Or is it simply a song detailing the relationship between artist and muse? From bare beginnings, something emerges, though not in the way that was planned. In that sense the track's exhilarating coda is an acceptance of the journey that comes from experimenting with sound, discovering direction and the joy of resolution.

Joy might not be the right descriptor for the album as a whole, but there is something liberating and thrilling about Culture Of Volume. There's a sense that East India Youth's operating a little more freely, trying things out and following his muse down the rabbit hole. The results are sometimes unexpected, such as the Pet Shop Boys influenced 'Beaming White', a track that in the wrong hands could have been kitschy, yet manages to collide '80s electro-pop with more contemporary percussion and ambient textures. Or, the heart-crushing dance floor freakout of 'Hearts That Never' - an infectious, impressive track that pushes Doyle's vocals to their very limits over a quick-footed beat and dizzying synthesisers. By comparison Total Strife Forever seems even starker, and far more brittle. Also, despite the frequent leaps between genre, it feels as though East India Youth has found a more unique voice on this record. Whilst his debut allowed easy comparison with Doyle's musical icons, Culture Of Volume is far more than the sum of its influences - it simply sounds like nothing else.

The album steadily builds over its first half, culminating in the riotous industrial techno of 'Entirety'. An aggressive, mechanical stomp with a hard-hitting four to the floor beat. Its metallic lead stands in stark contrast to much of the electronic instrumentation on display on this record. Whilst everything else seems far more human by comparison alone - 'Entirety' is unknowable. Perhaps to further the point, the core beat gives way to spacey synthesisers around the halfway mark; cavernous celestial chimes that stretch on forever before the pneumatic pound of the lead beat re-enters pummelling itself into every space and removing the brief moment of beauty that had existed. The track ends by fading out, yet rather than being a cheap way of resolving a track without closure, it provides a knowing, fourth-wall breaking wink. As the music fades it begins to echo, as though heard bleeding through a wall, the same sensation you'd experience in the corridors of a club, the dance floor hidden, yet present. It reminds you that it's only music your listening to - you should probably dismiss those existential thoughts.

It's followed by 'Carousel', which in some respects continues the thematic ideas that 'Entirety' sonically hints at - there's a reason why those two track titles go well together. With the lyric "carousel / holding me down" there's a palpable sense of fatalism to the track, which is only heightened by the slow build of the grand, glacial synthesisers. The whole track feels as though it is waiting for something - the end times perhaps? It's interesting that Doyle decided to introduce the record to the world with this song. Not only was it the lead single, but it was debuted at Heaven in London, with East India Youth stepping out from behind the table of electronics that had been his home on stage to assume the role of frontman. Arriving at the end of his set, it was as though he had also waited an eternity to make that step further into the spotlight.

Taken in isolation 'Carousel' is far more melancholic than anything East India Youth has previously released. Indeed the very imagery of a carousel often suggests inevitability and a sense of being trapped. Yet within the context of the record 'Carousel' take on new form. Yes, Doyle may still be singing about forces that keep him stuck in a perpetual loop, but as his voice grows louder, straining to reach higher, there's an exhilarating sense of hope. That perhaps this time the cycle will be broken, that the singer will leave the carousel. As if on cue the majestic synths are joined by dissonant notes, like the snapping of tightly wound metallic strings, or the bursting of stars whilst a rising static suggests a world outside of this one rushing in through the newly formed cracks.

This theme is continued in 'Don't Look Backwards', which sees East India Youth in far more overtly optimistic territory. Its muted percussion is matched with a square, fuzzy bass line and a pretty galloping synth lead that gives the whole thing a youthful energy. Doyle's vocal performance is more subdued, with a simple, yet effective harmony in the chorus. In some respects it's almost a companion piece to 'Turn Away'. Whilst the latter has a more wide-eyed view of electronica, with driving bass and soaring synthesiser, there is a thematic link in the idea of leaving the past behind and moving on. The only difference is that in 'Turn Away' East India Youth more seriously contemplates staying behind, whilst the singer in 'Don't Look Backwards' is already halfway to where he wants to be.

Like all good stories the climax arrives slightly earlier than expect in the form of penultimate track 'Manner Of Words'. A slow burning synth pop ballad, East India Youth constructs a world of blinking lights and cold, reverberated synthesisers for the verse and warmer waves of electronica for the chorus. Percussion is used sparingly in the chorus, and bass bubbles just below the surface. Compared to the previous tracks' narrative of overcoming insurmountable odds, 'Manner Of Words' has a sense of unfortunate inevitability to it. "Turn this dull roar down," Doyle intones on the track's opening line, "I hear it all the time and I know now / it soon becomes a shrill clarion and I can't carry on any longer." The song refers to a burden "I've contrived" and that the artist needs to suppress. Again this song could be viewed as being about the same artist / muse relationship as the album's second track. Yet there's something more mysterious to 'Manner Of Words' a haunting beauty that only increases as East India Youth layers up more synthesisers, ambient swells and stuttering beats. If this album opened with a rebirth, could this be an ascension? Amidst the rising electronics, a voice repeats the final line "gone away again" before the instruments fade out to be replaced by ambient textures, the sound recalling wind rushing past your ears, which itself, eventually, gives way to an ominous, deep rumble.

Culture Of Volume ends on an instrumental, recorded at the same time as the album's opening and as a result bringing the whole experience full circle. A hypnotic synthesised koto melody bounces between channels over sporadic electronic backing. It's kaleidoscopic and suitably transcendent for a record that's felt like one big trip. A collage of decontextualised sounds sculpted into a coherent thematic narrative is the best way to sum up Culture Of Volume. It might seem like East India Youth has moved closer towards pop, but that's an illusion. This album is perhaps even more ambitious than its predecessor and, unlike East India Youth's debut, finds the artist stepping out from the shadows to produce a stunning, transformative electronic record.

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