Serving up art-pop for the anthropocene, Springs Eternal is the Mercury-nominated, critically acclaimed artist William Doyle’s most ambitious and most playful creation to date. Taking a panoramic view of the ecstasies and agonies of life in the 2020s, the record asks how we exist as fragile flesh and blood – our hearts beating and our minds racing – in an unprecedented, almost unimaginable time of runaway climate destruction and technological expansion.
Springs Eternal presents a strange and thrilling cast of characters – from cowboys to castaways – who just might be Doyle, once or twice removed. “Most of the songs are in the first-person, but rather than being autobiographical, I was trying to imagine hyperreality versions of myself,” Doyle says. “What if decisions I made in my life had resulted in the self of each particular song? How many degrees of separation am I from those realities? It’s a frightening thought, and frightening thoughts often make for good songs.”
Across 11 tracks, we hear from narrators teetering on the precipice of global disaster, heartbreak, addiction, indoctrination and mental illness, until they pass into the great unknown. The lyrics, by turns earnest and ironic, upfront and allegorical, are paired with infectious melodies and often outright swagger. Co-produced by indie superproducer Mike Lindsay (Tunng, LUMP) at his MESS studio in Margate, we hear the siren song of the sea washing around pulsating electronics and stirring instrumentation, featuring contributions from musicians Alexander Painter, Genevieve Dawson and Brian Eno.
A recurring theme of water and flooding runs through the record, alluding simultaneously to the global climate crisis and the deluge of overwhelm these parallel-universe Williams are experiencing. “It wasn’t until we were mixing the record that I realised how many water references there are,” Doyle says. “I guess there’s a fluid border between our inner selves and the outside world that allows things to flood in, in unstoppable or perhaps irresistible ways.”
Springs Eternal is the next chapter in the William Doyle sonic odyssey that began with his incarnation as East India Youth (Total Strife Forever, 2014; Culture of Volume, 2015) and developed under his own name, producing the critically acclaimed records Your Wilderness Revisited (2019) and Great Spans of Muddy Time (2021). Alongside his own output, Doyle recently produced Anna B Savage’s celebrated debut album A Common Turn (2021) and plays in Orlando Weeks’ band both live and on his upcoming record.
“Springs Eternal” follows 2021’s critically acclaimed Great Spans of Muddy Time album (10/10 Loud & Quiet, 9/10 Line of Best Fit, 4/5 Mojo, 8/10 Uncut, 5th The Quietus 100 Albums of the Year).
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