Thrillingly propelled by Jimi Goodwin’s turbine engine of a bass guitar, the three cool Cheshire cats float above the industrial grime of the English north-east sprinkling a little glamour on their customary grit. ‘House Of Mirrors’ dazzles with a driving beat decorated by spaghetti western instrumental flourishes, and a chorus that will lift the roof off arenas.
Doves – Kingdom Of Rust: To soften the blow of leaving us in the lurch for four years, Doves have done the decent thing and returned with an absolute stormer. We’ve heard the album, and this isn’t even the best song on it.
Doves –the band with added moisturiser –are looking to “do an Elbow” this year. In other words, a middle-ranking, fondly regarded but fundamentally unsexy band making an unexpected late-career leap into the big time.
But Jimi Goodwin is no Guy Garvey, vocally or lyrically, and if Kingdom of Rust –which alternates between freewheeling country rock and portentous indie prog –is the record that does it, that’s purely down to timing. (The Last Broadcast was a worthier candidate.)
Download this: ‘Compulsion’: OCD, as easy as 1-2-3
Four years on from their most recent album, Some Cities, the Manchester trio return. Everything you expect from a Doves record is here; and that, in a sense, is the problem. Of signs of development and advance, there are frustratingly few. The sonic subtlety that has always vied for supremacy with the band’s big-picture, prog-like tendencies is present and correct: sections of tracks such as Jetstream, 10.03 and Birds Flew Backwards contain huge open spaces in which tiny interjections make a mighty impact. Compulsion, meanwhile, nods to both Blondie’s Rapture and the band’s own dance roots. More typical of a strangely moribund album, however, are Winter Hill and The Greatest Denier, where their defaults of heavy sound blankets and rhythmic doggedness begin to seem not only oppressive, but dull.