The tricky second album is a problem many artists have faced. Given the enormous success of East India Youth's Mercury-nominated debut 'Total Strife Forever', the Bournemouth native might have been forgiven for finding the task more daunting than most.
A little over 12 months since that album started to bury its way into the mainstream consciousness, William Doyle returns to the fold once again with follow-up 'Culture Of Volume'. Swiftly dispelling any worries, Doyle's second album is one that retains that initial charm while also showing a distinct path of evolution.
The artist's first for new label XL Recordings, 'Culture Of Volume' is still rich in the hallmarks of laptop-crafted electronica, mixing instrumental tracks with experimentally-minded pop, but it is also one which feels more controlled and direct than his critically adored debut.
Opening track 'The Juddering' – written whilst the debut was still fresh – serves as a bridge between the two; waves of electronic noise pump up and roll over it, prompting comparisons to Bowie's introductory notes on 'Station To Station'.
But from that entry point the album slowly cascades into an updated version of his glorious synth-led 80s embracing pop. 'End Result' sees shuffling jazz rhythms laying the foundations for melodramatic synth work while 'Beaming White' – with its swirling melodies – could well be mistaken for a long lost Pet Shop Boys song.
The instrumental 'Entirety' may have a renewed muscular feel, but this instrumental centre-point is a welcome diversion, adding further texture to an already rich album. The harsh beats soon give way to the smoother tones of 'Carousel', a moment resting on mattresses of electronic sound that lay the foundations for downbeat Scott Walker-style balladry.
A broad, diverse and enriching album, the ten tracks which make up 'Culture Of Volume' are each distinctive but seamlessly connect and click together to produce a piece of work that will both delight and enthral.
Words: Nathan Westley
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