Stereogum on The Universal Want: Across the album, Doves are both mellower and vibier than we’d semi-recently heard them. Their new songs are reflective and patient, with all kinds of otherworldly sounds flickering through the backdrop. If there’s a distinction relative to their other four albums, it often feels as if The Universal Want focuses more on groove even as none of the songs reclaim the trio’s dance music roots. Tracks like “I Will Not Hide” or the liquified funk of “Mother Silver Lake” take material that could’ve followed old Doves formulae and tweak it into breezy lopes built on muscular rhythms.
There are moments — like the surging rocker “Prisoners” — that could’ve plausibly existed on any of Doves’ previous albums, and there are several others that seem ever so slightly recognizable while suggesting new territory. The album begins with a suite of songs — “Carousels,” “I Will Not Hide,” and “Broken Eyes” — that almost work like small mutations of older Doves compositions. It then settles into a center section of more midtempo, ballad-leaning material, before concluding with a stretch that’s starts with the twin desperation/resolve interaction of “Prisoners” and “Cycle Of Hurt” before giving way to the autumnal series of “Mother Silver Lake,” the Big Statement climax of the title track, and the quieter epilogue of “Forest House.” The latter rather directly calls back to “A House,” which filled the same role on Lost Souls 20 years ago, at the beginning of it all.
A great write-up from Stereogum, click here to read the full piece.
Clash Music says: Dreamy and atmospheric, wavy guitar lines are produced, forming a structure in and around the melody before the organic flow and chorus of ‘Broken Eyes’ take centre stage. So far, every tune has delivered and contributed to a rapturous listen.
Elsewhere, the emotive ‘Prisoners’ tackles the subject of mental health. An inspired guitar-driven moment, it builds with drama, “When there’s blood on the stage/Could you face your fears?/It all ends here/The minutes the hours,/Days and years.” Then ‘Cycle of Hurt’ lightens the mood with lucidity and soft-spoken dogmatism, it provides determination and a way out.
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Northern Transmissions writes: It’s all capped off by another scorching solo by Jez, of which you’ll find several scattered throughout ‘The Universal Want’. The notion of progression, be it a personal drive for more or something that could be construed as blind consumerism is explored on the LP’s title track; starting off stripped back, just a piano and vocals before evolving into something flecked with Balearic tones, Goodwin can be heard pondering “the universal want is everywhere/is everyone”. ‘I Will Not Hide’ provides a defiant edge to the record with Goodwin’s clenched fist delivery of “if this is a test to see who blinks before the other/I will not yield/I will not hide/I will not hide anymore” while textured noises swirl and contort.
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xs noize: I Will Not Hide starts with a Mickey Mouse (!) sounding vocal and a fluid and decisive tone. Then it delves into a magical sounding ode with the refrain “I will not yield, I will not hide.” An 80s synth sound and likeable beat underpins this. A female backing vocal and swirling, sonic guitar and drums back it all up seamlessly.
For Mother Silverlake Jimi shares vocals with Jez on this funky, intoxicating dive. The thumping drum grooves combine well with elements of psychedelia and jazz. The title track, The Universal Want, starts as a gentle, but emotional piano ballad and then ups the tempo halfway through with shades of Primal Scream’s ‘Movin’ On Up’ building up to an unexpected crescendo then fading to a rave-laden/Madchester style ending, (bringing to mind a touch of their Sub Sub days.) Click here to read the full review.
Riff Magazine: First single “Carousels” sets the stage as a retreat into childhood memories over a skittering Tony Allen drum sample that builds to dizzy psychedelic crescendo. “I Will Not Hide” is a bitter observation and confrontation with a politician that reveals itself as a statement of pride and defiance over sensational staccato drumming from Andy Williams and the first of many stunning guitar solos by Jez Wiliams that make one wonder if he spent the last 11 years playing guitar without pause. “Broken Eyes” and “For Tomorrow” are a one-two punch of classic Doves that beautifully set the stage for the stunning departure that comes next. Read the full review here.