Single Review: William Doyle – Nothing At All

It is necessary to state that William Doyle’s music makes a solid soundtrack right now. The white quilted British residential streets equal the warm washed textures (and environmental lyrics) of Doyle’s latest LP ‘Your Wilderness Revisited’. A worthwhile listen if you’re late to the party, and love a good textural art pop project (Brian Eno and Arcade Fire have a kid). It’s also worth noting that Doyle’s previous single, ‘And Everything Changed (But It’s Alright)’ is no exception to the rule, coming complete with applaud worthy fripp-like electric guitar work. If not his best, it at least goes head to head with some of the highlights on Wilderness, where he arguably out does it lyrically. With all this being said, a new single couldn’t be more timely for Doyle right now right?

Well maybe not so much. The story I mention in the last Doyle piece (Doyle’s hard drive crashing before he finished this new album, resulting in him having to use the unfinished recordings he retrieved from a cassette tape) has unfortunately started to take it’s toll. As it’s title implies, ‘Nothing At All’ leaves little to the imagination, tarnishing the initial image I had of Doyle’s new LP.

Sure, the pulsating synth rhythm and looming organ opening this cut aren’t that offensive (though to me – and to Doyle’s standards – they are still the musical equivalent of paintstripper) as they trudge along passively, doing very little to remain in the memory. But this isn’t where my main problem comes in. It’s more in the chorus, where Doyle’s boyish vocals become less charming and more karaoke. In this section alone, he questionably carries the melody with his vocals, restating the out of steam synth refrain (matching a dodgy deep cut on a Pet Shop Boys LP). It sounds so cheesy that you can smell stilton coming out of your sound system. No, lyrically Doyle hasn’t made any terribly awful sins. He’s an intellectual writer and I tend to rarely have a problem with his words. But although he occasionally brings in a nice enough (verging on existential) line or two, this ones a bit of a snoozer. Especially when comparing to expectations. Here’s to hoping it will work better in the runtime of Doyle’s new LP. I can at least forgive him for trying to widen his pallet.

Doyle’s new record, ‘Great Spans Of Muddy Time’ will be released on March 21st 2021. Hear the new single below: