Single Review: William Doyle – Surrender Yourself (Tough Love Records)
On the 4th October William Doyle released a new single, ‘Surrender Yourself’. It is his first piece of music released since 2021’s ‘Great Spans of Muddy Time’. He is still taking his hiatus from his East India Youth moniker, and releasing music purely as William Doyle. Indie producer Mike Lyndsay co-produced the track.
The song was written as a satirical response to tech bro billionaires controlling our lives through AI, the Metaverse and other similar mind controlling, world destroying, Terminator-esq tech. The lyrics and tune are meant to embody an AI, eager to help augment humanity as best it can. The term ‘Surrender Yourself’ is fantastically vague – the happy feel to the song makes the listener wonder if this term is an amicable call to relax, or a threat.
The song builds well, Doyle’s voice sings out politely, the rhythm of the song gives him a sort of hop in his voice throughout, as if he’s apologetically asking where the toilet is. A female chorus comes in to accompany towards the end of the song, which does a good job of building the power of the song as it goes on. The chorus also helps us feel like we have some friendly yet potentially sinister AI present with Doyle – are they accompanying him, or taking him away to their lab?
It’s a more upbeat, generally happier track than songs from his previous album, very different from say ‘I Need to Keep You in My Life’, or ‘And Everything Changed’. The song sounds like it could have been the theme for Skins. It’s got a West country/grunge feel about it, very Razorlight or Noah and the Whale. Maybe some Radiohead added.
Doyle has referenced Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt as influences, which are both clearly felt in the track. Unlike several tracks from Great Spans of Muddy Time, this song is an easy listen. Whereas in his previous album, where Doyle seemed to be experimenting more, at times to the detriment of the music, here he seems happy to keep his experiments inside the bounds of good, easy listening music. Still, making an electronic, experimental pop song about an uncanny valley AI augmenting and potentially controlling humanity is still pretty far out there. The rest of the album promises to be similarly interesting. Very much worth a listen.