East India Youth @ The Louisiana, Bristol, 04/02/2014

East India YouthThe first thing to remember about live music at The Louisiana is that, if the artist in question incorporates any instrument besides the acoustic guitar into their set, then the deafened post-gig version of yourself will be cursing by the end of the night. East India Youth, aka Mark Doyle’s set of synth, bass and noisiness certainly proves to be no exception. However as he stands in the opening moments, understated and floppy-haired, your eyes misinform your ears about what they should expect.

Wielding both laptop and bass guitar, Doyle makes a good stab at launching a bass-driven assault on the senses with “Glitter Recession”. If a sound can be ‘glittery’ then it’s indeed a fitting word to describe the shimmering, cymbal-clashing haze of magic that, juddering and jangling, ricochets in frenzy between the walls of this densely populated box within moments of him taking to the stage. With notes which sound like impending doom and an atmosphere-building faraway feel, the genre-blurring album-opener becomes a set opener, drawing us into East India Youth’s synth-heavy evening of electro/techno/dance just as it does on his debut, Total Strife Forever.

Next, with scrunched eyes and a body buckled over every vehemently strummed chord, Doyle pours energy into “Looking for Someone”, treating the audience to a glorious mix of slow and endearingly-sung lyrics of hopelessness and an experimental backdrop. It’s with this and crowd-pleasing “Dripping Down” that the room is most enthralled – Doyle’s charming, simple voice being the factor in common.

It’s marvellous and then there’s a technical fault which sees the set skid to a brief halt. A fleeting moment later and Doyle doesn’t pick up where he left off, but takes things up a notch with the pulsating, climactic insistence of set-closer “Hinterland”. Picking up the room and transporting its contents to club land with rapid, expansive soundscapes and a pounding bassline, East India Youth showcases a side which is as far from the earphone-friendliness of, say, “Looking for Someone” as is imaginable.

Doyle alternates between the heart wrenching and rhythm of your heartbeat-dictating: with fuzzy synth, ticking metronome and tenderly-sung words working in such close proximity, he can be utterly boisterous and in honesty overpowering; or he can be the complete opposite. Warn your eardrums what they’re in for, don’t stand too close to the speakers and let the spacious, consuming explosiveness of the whole spectacle wash over you.


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