Review Round-Up #8
A few more reviews…
Doves’ 4th album, ‘Kingdom of Rust,’ good but not good enough
The British trio Doves spent nearly two years crafting a follow-up to its stellar 2005 album, “Some Cities.” Sadly, “Kingdom of Rust” comes up short.
That’s not to say it isn’t good. It just doesn’t match the punchy vibe of “Some Cities” and, at times, may actually be a bit boring.
Jimi Goodwin, Jez Williams and Andy Williams, who first started playing together as teenagers in Cheshire, England, aimed to stretch their musical muscles on “Rust.” And on many tracks, they succeed. The album opener, “Jetstream,” is an electro-tinged, Kraftwerk-inspired song. “The Outsider” mixes classic rock rhythms with electronic sounds. And the album’s best track, its title song, is a rhythmic romp blending bright guitars with a galloping, cowboy-style bassline.
But other tracks simply fail to excite. With its fat, driving bass, “Compulsion” shows promise but ends up being an 1980s electropop throwback. Similarly, anthemic songs such as “Winter Hill” and “Greatest Denier” are good enough, but ultimately forgettable. The love song “Spellbound” and the ethereal “Birds Flew Backwards” are musically lovely, but don’t cry out for a repeat play.
Where “Some Cities” beckoned the ears with each track, “Rust” fades into the background. Too bad the albums weren’t released in reverse.
Check out this track: Arranged by Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers, “10:03” starts slow and builds into a layered, bass-heavy rocker with driving rhythms.
Rolling Stone, Album Review:
For their fourth record in nine years, Doves deliver gorgeous, sonically adventurous tunes dappled with strings, droning guitars, Radiohead-ish atmospherics and singer Jimi Goodwin’s longing tales of lonely train rides and missing the sunshine. Kingdom of Rust is wonderfully dolorous, but when Doves rev up the tempos on tracks like “The Outsiders,” they show they’re not a total pity party. Their good cheer isn’t always convincing: “Compulsion” sounds like a bad cover of Blondie’s “Rapture.” But they get bonus points for re-creating the keyboard sound from Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle” on “Jetstream.”
Daily Mirror (via Mirror.co.uk), Album Review:
Kingdom Of Rust, 4/5
It has been four years since Doves released an album and while they’ve been away, fellow Mancs Elbow have muscled in on their brand of uplifting melancholy.
But Kingdom Of Rust recaptures and significantly extends the band’s gameplan.
The gloomy but heartfelt title track establishes the record’s mood and musical edge, while the songs that surround it confirm that Doves have not been lying idly by or resting on their laurels.
The bristling and urgent 10:03 strengthens their grip on widescreen rock with a train ride into the murky recesses of the soul, while Birds Flew Backwards unfurls its forlorn, string-laden sorrow with style and substance to spare.
There’s clamour and spooky sound effects woven into the furious hard rock of House Of Mirrors.
Psychedelia from the dark side of town, it’s a song where doubt and dissolving identity are common bedfellows.
Kingdom Of Rust maps out foreboding and fearsome territory, but even in the album’s most punishing moments (Lifelines) the trio find a way to fly free.