William Doyle, formerly known as East India Youth, has recently released his second album under his own name. Inspired by Monty Don’s quote about depression “nothing but great spans of muddy time”, William Doyle titled his new album Great Spans of Muddy Time. In this album, Doyle throws in a handful of vocally led songs and experimental instrumentals particularly, electronic. Given that this album is a product of an accident when Doyle’s hard-drive failed (via Tough Love Records), causing him to lose his perfect recordings, it is imperfectly beautiful and raw. Filled with unedited and improvised pieces, Great Spans of Muddy Time delivers a sense of unpredictability.
The lead single of the album, ‘And Everything Changed (But I Feel Alright)’, accurately depicts the album as unpredictable. Not only does this mid-tempo single consist of electronics, soothing harmonies and melodies, but also an excellent guitar solo. Throughout the single, Boyle expresses the necessity of believing in yourself and your intuition — even at times when it seems impossible to do so.
And the rest of the songs don’t disappoint. With songs like ‘Somewhere Totally Else’, ‘Shadowtackling’, ‘New Uncertainties’, and ‘A Forgotten Film’ Doyle proves that a song doesn’t need lyrics in order to convey emotions for the listeners in order to be great.
Not only is the album complicated and mysterious in terms of its instrumentals, it is also lyrically and vocally beautiful. The sincerity in the way Doyle sings lines like “I need to keep you in my life” in the song ‘I Need to Keep You in my Life’ leaves an unsettling feeling. This is also evident in ‘Who Cares’ where Doyle repeatedly asks “Who cares about what they say?”, not caring about others’ opinions.
The mix of electric and acoustic elements, along with Doyle’s voice throughout the Great Spans of Muddy Time creates an impeccable combination. It’s unpredictable with a sense that the music could transform into anything while still being playful. Great Spans of Muddy Time is an electronically experimental, noisy, unconventional yet beautiful album. The songs are imperfect and raw, and in that it finds its charm. Because of the imperfections, Great Spans of Muddy Time is beautiful and further shows Doyle’s unique view of pop, art-rock and his music.