It’s pretty interesting when the ideas behind album titles are explained – although clearly there are exceptions to be made for things like Greatest Hits – and especially so when an artist like William Doyle decides to unpack his process. Doyle’s first release under his own name, 2019’s Your Wilderness Revisited was a richly textural concept album which dealt with processing adolescent grief and dislocation, managing in the process to be emotionally uplifting whilst provoking thought.
The idea for Great Spans of Muddy Time was drawn from phraseology TV presenter Monty Don has used to describe his experiences battling depression, a connection Doyle made with his own past whilst consuming hours of lockdown programming. He’s used the time to consciously make music which isn’t as sonically perfect as it’s predecessor delivered; some of this was a matter of necessity when a hard drive perished and he was forced back to the old skool medium of tape.
What comes out is a record of contrasts, part soaring, elegant synth pop (Opener I Need To Keep You In My Life, And Everything Changed (But I Feel alright) with it’s slightly incongruous guitar screech) part ambient electronica. Listening to anyone use the head key with so much integrity can be fascinating but uncomfortable; instead on Theme From Muddy Time the singer explores both his history and the future with a sincere, come-all warmth and dexterity. It’s hard to escape the feeling he’s better off for it.
You can read the full review here.