Tune into the Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC Radio 2 tomorrow night (Tuesday) from 8pm to hear Doves talk about the Best Of and other stuff I’m sure. No word on if they are doing a wee session or not. Cheers to gibbo for the heads up!
Doves official website has been updated with some new summer festival shows announced. For all the info visit doves.net
Popmatters have posted up a good review of the Best Of.
Those singles remain the primary reason this compilation works so well, however. One of the smartest things about the first disc that might fly over the head of those who either buy the album on iTunes or purchase the CD solely to rip it is the sequencing. Instead of going chronologically, which would have clearly illustrated just how much stronger Doves’ first two albums clearly are, all 15 tracks are arranged according to feel, and as a result it becomes an even more compelling listening experience, bouncing from opener “There Goes the Fear”, to “Snowden”, to “Kingdom of Rust”, to “Catch the Sun” to the closer “The Cedar Room”. The idea to choose now to put out The Places Between might seem strange, but the music inside is revelatory, even if you’ve already been listening to Doves for the past decade. It’s the strongest best-of to come our way by a UK band since Pulp’s Hits, but unlike that venerable, dearly missed band, we have every reason to be optimistic about hearing more extraordinary music from Doves in the future.
Doves and Elbow register in the 9-to-5 tradition of working class Manchester, where respect is earned through hard work, and character is assessed by true-to-self authenticity and true-to-others selflessness.
this is not your father’s prog rock, as the moody sound-scapes of Elbow and Doves are infiltrated by the pulses of modernity, too, ambient techno rhythms often providing the backdrops for the more traditional instrumentation, particularly in Doves’ works. Radiohead are the common denominator inspiration here, but the acid house beats that the Madchester scene imported from Detroit and Chicago are equally omnipresent, while Manchester’s northern soul tradition—rooted in the beats of Motown—can also be heard, if, perhaps, by way of the precedential forays of the Stone Roses. For all the broad-ranging influences and deep musical roots at the heart of Elbow and Doves, a notably Manchester sound still emanates from them in the final product. As the NME opined when reviewing Doves’ house-inspired debut album, Lost Souls (2000), “above all you hear a time and place” in the songs. (“Lost Souls” 31 March 2000)
Equally adept at capturing personal circumstances via topographical settings are Doves. Album titles like Some Cities (2005) and Kingdom of Rust (2009) establish their urban milieu, while nature-bound titles like “Winter Hill” and “Bird Flew Backwards” (both from Kingdom of Rust) suggest alternative desires to escape the city-scapes. Like Elbow, Doves use sounds and words as visual devices, as sparks for our imaginations to cross sensory lines. And as befits bands hailing from the city that provided the first passenger railway service, travel—particularly by trains—provides metaphors for themes of movement, unrest, escapism, and life journeys. Doves’ equivalent to Elbow’s “Station Approach” is “10.03″ (2009), a conventional riding-the-rails blues melody set against a techno-modern rhythmic backdrop, while an earlier song, “M62″ (2002), had the band surveying urban topography from the context of a North-West motorway; indeed, they even recorded the song under one of its overpasses.
Reflective of their techno roots, Doves experience Manchester in fast-forward mode, with a rhythmic momentum of and about movement, speed, and change. Some Cities recognize the transformations that cities like Manchester have gone through in recent decades, the progressions weighed against the inevitable loss of tradition, the commercial vibrancy against the erasure of character and distinction. “Home feels like a place I’ve never been,” reflects Jimi Goodwin on “House of Mirrors” (2009).
While the consistent Some Cities cruised along comfortably, Kingdom of Rust is a bumpier ride, as we hear Doves playing to their strengths one minute, and giving in to their schmaltzy instincts the next. However, for a good half hour we’re hearing what sounds like a rejuvenated band, the three musicians up to their old eclectic mischief, sounding as ambitious as ever. “Jetstream” is inspired, the band’s dance element returning with a vengeance, thrumming synths, pounding kick drum, and flange-enhanced hi-hat beats backing Jez’s coy, detached vocals, and the furious “The Outsiders” rocks harder than the threesome ever has before, the song’s churning, swaggering hard rock at times evoking Swervedriver’s “Last Train to Satansville”. With its wistful mellotron loops, ambient touches, and the simple phrasing by smooth-voiced Goodwin, “Winter Hill” captures a pastoral feeling far better than the last album, while the shifts from rich layers of trilling melodies to the abrupt, tense bassline of the chorus on “The Greatest Denier” is an inspired touch.
Doves must be getting sick of the comparison by now but it’s hard not to wonder if the recent success enjoyed by Elbow could also happen to them.
After all, they’re both scruffy but charming gangs from the North-west who write impassioned, anthemic songs deeply connected to the region and who have been plodding along reliably in the background throughout the last decade.
So is Kingdom Of Rust their Seldom Seen Kid? In some ways, it could be.
What has always made Doves so appealing –the rhythmic undercurrents that betrayed their early days as dance act Sub Sub, the multi-textured songs which slowly reveal themselves –is confidently displayed here on songs such as the searing opener Jetstream or the dizzying Winter Hill.
There are also successful moves outside the band’s comfort zone, such as the throbbing, motorik rhythm that powers The Outsiders or the title track, a shuffling, achingly sad song which paints Lancashire as the dusty setting for a spaghetti western.
However, Kingdom Of Rust doesn’t maintain this early quality, flagging in the centre and exposing the craggier edges of singer Jimi Goodwin’s vocals.
With a cluster of formulaic tracks forming the album’s core, only the surprisingly funky Compulsion and the more forceful House Of Mirrors lift the record again towards its close.
A complex, multi-faceted record, Kingdom Of Rust will certainly appeal to Doves’ existing fans but it lacks the sheer force of personality needed to make everyone else sit up and take note again.
Doves’ epic indie rock mightn’t fall under what we class as “urban” and “industrial” music, but there’s arguably no-one more suited to that description. Their sound conjures up huge rain-lashed cooling towers, crumbling apartment blocks huddled under cumulonimbus-clogged skies, weed-cracked concrete and traffic-clogged sliproads. In these imposing landscapes stand the glum-faced Doves, the beating human heart of these soulless spaces.
Highlights are the Morricone-flavoured title track with its unexpected, uplifting Mike Oldfield-esque melody, the atmospheric Jetstream with its driving Kraftwerkian beats and spacy electronic flourishes, the waking dream of 10:03, and the rousing Compulsion, which mixes a funky bassline with vast sweeps of atmospheric guitar to great effect.
As ever, there’s something highly satisfying and strangely comforting about their sullen pomp, guaranteed to put some drama into a dreary drive over the M62.
‘Jetstream’ is de knaller die ‘Kingdom of rust’ opent. De groep beweert zelf dat het nummer gestoeld is op hun voorliefde voor Vangelis (!). Wij horen enkel de binnenrollende drums zoals wij dat enkel Larry Mullen jr hebben weten doen, in goede doen. De groep boet hier misschien wat in aan melodie, maar pompt zo de wilskracht naar het voorste plan. Ook verder in het album zijn het de drums en de baslijnen die voor de hoogste noot zorgen. Nummers als ‘The outsiders’ en ‘The great denier’ zorgen voor een dynamisch tempo.