Album Review: Great Spans of Muddy Time by William Doyle
Great, Based on 3 Critics
The Line of Best Fit - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Now, Doyle returns once more with his most powerful work to date. Where his previous albums, especially Your Wilderness Revisited, showcased an artist on the precipice of true greatness, Great Spans of Muddy Time - named after a rather apt description for depression, coined by English naturalist Monty Don - is the work of a powerful artist in their prime. While "it has its seeds in Robert Wyatt , early [Brian] Eno, Robyn Hitchcock , and Syd Barrett," as explained by Doyle, Muddy Time is much more than a tapestry woven from important influences.
You would be forgiven, before hearing a second of this record, for just going ahead and assuming that it's a masterpiece. Just look at that gorgeous artwork! Only true works of genius, your 'Spirit Of Eden's, your 'Ghosteen's, exude that kind of elegant natural splendour. And that name - 'Great Spans Of Muddy Time'. So evocative, so pregnant with meaning! This initial presumption of greatness is backed up by the album's opening duo of songs: the achingly romantic 'I Need You In My Life' and the upbeat 'And Everything Changed (But I Feel Alright)'.
You may remember William Doyle as East India Youth, the genre-hopping one-man band who made two albums before Doyle decided to retire the moniker and make music under his given name. Doyle then self-released a few albums of ambient instrumental music, before the excellent Your Wilderness Revisited appeared in 2017. Your Wilderness Revisited saw a return to the more traditional ‘songs’ of East India Youth, but Doyle’s trademark (his willingness to seamlessly explore different styles, often in the same song) remained.