William Doyle - 'Great Spans Of Muddy Time'

7/10

When William Doyle first introduced himself as East India Youth with his debut album 'Total Strife Forever' in 2014, it was an instant critical smash. Huge amounts of praise were lavished upon him and even culminated in a Mercury Prize nomination. But it wasn't long before he would retire the moniker and begin to go by his own name, which we later realised was an attempt to be more upfront and unabashed with his musical direction. Since then he has skirted the precipice of musical discovery, and now returns with his latest endeavour 'Great Spans Of Muddy Time', a record that takes personal inspiration to a whole new level.

The artwork itself is a a 17th Century oil painting by Dutch renaissance master Melchior d’Hindecoeter, and the album title a quote from Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don, which already gives us a clear understanding that his motivations and influences can come from almost anywhere. But from the very start, 'Great Spans Of Muddy Time' is less about seeing where the ideas appear from, but how he interprets them as an artist. There is a fresh and diverse mix of ideas on this new collection, which while making for an interesting and complex listen, do sometimes find difficulties in gelling well together.

In all, this feels like William Doyle is still very much in the midst of developing his next evolutionary step. While the East India Youth project presented him in a more straight-forward guise, his eponymous releases are continuing to push and cultivate his musical experiences, creating captivating works that are more about enjoying the journey than the finished product itself.

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