Review Round-Up #12
More reviews; this time around, all from the U.S.
Stragglers from the ’80s Madchester scene, this Northern England trio has been rising like a phoenix since a fire burned down the Goodwin twins’ studio in 1996 and they fluttered away from dance-music, as Sub-Sub, into the Doves’ beating alt-rock sound. Their third disc, Some Cities, was their best yet, and their ability to swoop over the landscape, from close city streets to open country field, is on display here from the start. “Jetstream” whirs to life on a beat that becomes choppier and catchier as a gentle pulse settles in behind it, only for it all to implode at the percussion-heavy climax—an urgent riff that never becomes desperate. The title track is a particularly elegant, fine-tuned example of Doves’ signature rambles through rising rock-chords, rolling folk-ballad sounds and the English landscape: “a distant sound of thunder out on the moor … it takes an ocean of trust.” The openings to most tracks here offer a greater, whimsical promise than most openings on most alt-rock discs. And the band stutters, ducks and dodges around enough to give its sound a new rhythm each time, as in the looping jangle of “10:03,” clatter-and-ring of “Spellbound” and fuzzing surge of “House of Mirrors.” Only “Compulsion” is a little ponderous. Kingdom of Rust is the sort of album that crystallizes a band’s style without petrifying it into brittle amber. There’s no stale air to oxidize the sound here—nothing but a soaring exhalation pushing against the limits.
College Times, Album Review:
They might live largely in the shadow of Euro contemporaries Coldplay and Snow Patrol here stateside, but Manchester band Doves deftly replicate the feats (and the faults) of both bands on their fourth full-length Kingdom of Rust.
Recorded in a farmhouse studio in the agricultural countryside of Cheshire, England, several cuts soaked up the group’s rustic surroundings. Take title track “Kingdom of Rust,” on which the blokes sound a bit like an electrified Coldplay out on the range.
But the majority of the album is the same old broad, likeable Brit-rock the world knows and loves, tweaked just enough to keep things interesting. Like the sprawling, taut opener “Jetstream,” built on electro-pulses and abbreviated guitar riffs.
“10:03″ builds with similar tension until finally relenting into a full-on rock ‘n roll tangent, a welcome respite from all the dramatic build-ups, practically protected by law in the Brit-rock genre.
“Compulsion” is a sexy, spacey, groove-riding diversion, but only an exception to the rule. Doves, for all the electro tinges and dance-rock infusions and soaring mood-building, play most comfortably within the confines of classic, guitar-driven British pop-rock, and they play it well.
New York Daily News, Album Review:
Doves soundin’ real coo-l
The Doves’ new CD doesn’t vary wildly from the three that preceded it (the most recent being “Some Cities” four years ago). It’s still big on foreboding bass lines, tall walls of guitars and vocals that cascade in a broad and leisurely way. That isn’t to dismiss the melodies entirely. They can be fetching. But ultimately it’s the stark darkness of the mellotron, the sweet glisten of the guitars and the fine swish of cymbals that gives these Doves flight.
To read the full review, click here.
The Daily Californian (via DailyCal.org), Album Review:
Whether it’s the taut, minor-key riffings of lead-off “Jetstream” or the twangy swing-along of the later tracks, much of the album is strangely reminiscent in tone of a spaghetti Western. In fact, the first few tracks produce a sonic tension that you expect at any moment to be interrupted by Clint Eastwood kicking down the saloon doors, brandishing a pistol and booting skulking villains over the bartop counter.
To read the full review, click here.