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William Doyle - Springs Eternal (Album Review)

Thursday, 22 February 2024 Written by Jacob Brookman

‘Springs Eternal’ is the latest missive from William Doyle, the Bournemouth electronic (and occasionally ambient) producer also known for a time as East India Youth. It finds this tender soul in diverse spirits, delivering a record of impressive versatility, if not always solid gold songwriting.

A good example of this imbalance is Soft to the Touch, a nimble waltz using cruise ship drum patches and lilting synth waves. Doyle skilfully layers his vocals and the result is a distinctive and attractive reverie that is also a bit forgettable. 

Elsewhere, Surrender Yourself is a snaking shuffler with Radiohead (or possibly The Smile) energy and catchy guitar lines. The problem here (and always the danger with sounding a bit like Radiohead) is that the basic music and production can look pretty mediocre by comparison.

A Short Illness is also unconvincing. The song opens with Doyle singing plainly over a simple piano motif — his lack of affectation in singing is hypnotic on one level and a tiresome on another.

This track actually dances onto the high wire of chamber pop, the domain of the Divine Comedy and Randy Newman, and tumbles off. It brings to bear a certain luvvie quality to the music which grates when it should entertain.

The best track is Now In Motion, which blends a pop groove with a catchy melody and lots of musical progressions, ending in a kind of Europop disco. But, once again, it is a bit of a tonal head scratcher as the first half sounds like a decent pop song, while the outro sounds like a live version that closes out a concert. As track two on the album, it feels odd.

It’s difficult to know quite what to make of ‘Springs Eternal’. This is an impressive album made by a very talented musician but it doesn’t seem to connect with a lot of its targets, and its emotional core is profoundly uneven. It suggests that pop music is not really Doyle’s true forte and that ambient soundscapes and soundtracks might be a better home for his skills.

William Doyle Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue March 19 2024 - BRIGHTON Alphabet
Wed March 20 2024 - CAMBRIDGE Portland Arms
Thu March 21 2024 - MARGATE Where Else?
Sun March 24 2024 - MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Wed March 27 2024 - NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social
Thu March 28 2024 - EDINBURGH Sneaky Pete's
Fri March 29 2024 - LEEDS Wardrobe
Sat March 30 2024 - KENDAL Can Yam Brew Co
Wed April 03 2024 - LONDON Lafayette, London

Compare & Buy William Doyle Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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