review

BBC Review: The Places Between

A glowing review of The Best of album at BBC Music:

It speaks volumes about Doves’ far-reaching ambitions – or perhaps their lack of provincial attitude – that they’ve made such a mighty noise for over a decade without ever being tagged a ‘Manchester band’.

When they shed their rave pop guise of Sub Sub and emerged in 1998 with glacial ghost story The Cedar Room – an amorphous spectre of a tune as haunting as the ghouls that inhabited its lyrics – their atmospheric bass throbs and sunbeam-surfing guitars spoke more of Viennese spires shrouded in gothic mist than cocaine benders down The City. Instead of being tethered to geographical roots, Doves took wing, inspiring hordes of potato-faced blokes, from I Am Kloot to Elbow, to make music as beautiful as they weren’t. In their time, Jimi Goodwin and Andy and Jez Williams have come to epitomise what can only be described as Mercury Prize rock.

As expansive and ambitious as their sound, this best-of set draws together their most memorable hits, stand-out album tracks, B-sides and alternative versions across a standard and deluxe, expanded edition. That it still doesn’t find space for Satellites is testament to the quality of the monumental music on display.

To read the full review, click here

Reading that makes me want to play the tracks right now.

Just Played Best Of Review

I believe we have the first review of the The Places Between Best of album. The Just Played blog has docuemented thoughts on the first listen..

Rest assured, the new tracks don’t stick out amongst the many highlights from the band’s first twelve years. ‘Blue Water’, a track that has been knocking around in the back waters of the internet for almost a decade, is a fine, fine way to kick off the second disc, the swaggering ‘Drifter’ then appears smack in the middle of the disc. The former shuffles along with that wonderful stuttering drum pattern so well deployed on ‘Here It Comes’ and ‘Drifter’ features overlooked talent Simon Aldred, of Cherry Ghost. While both new songs on disc two are fantastic, it’s worth pausing to note the quite brilliant sequencing of the songs, as undertaken by the band themselves. It actually hangs together like a proper record, with the same ups and downs in mood and pace that we’ve come to expect from a typical Doves studio outing.

The decision to include a small number of album tracks seems at first to be an odd one, but the choices have clearly been made carefully and I can’t really see any harm in a couple of these beauts slotting in across the disc when, without them, it would just have had less tracks on it.

To read the full review, visit Just Played.

Kingdom of Rust: A Celebrity’s Thoughts

Not quite sure how to describe this, but apparently its some “celebrity” discussing Kingdom Of Rust with a blogger I think, kinda funny in places..

Blokes Singing About Bloke Hood
Cody: The fact that they are blokes and sing about their bloke hood is a major plus for me. On the other hand, to my mind their sound is suitable for stadiums or at least hockey rinks…It’s BIG.
Fluxy: “Blokes that sing about their bloke hood” Ha! But their sound is definitely BIG. And great with images. Every time I turned on the TV, this album is being used on shows. I hear songs on football shows, teenage dramas, documentaries about Iraq. The latest was on a TV dance contest, after a bitterly disappointed 40 year-old woman was booted off the show. They played a track from first album ‘Lost Souls’. Apt.
Cody: I get it, though. Even though the lyrics are very personal, the music builds to anthemic. It is very produced (not meant as negative).
Fluxy: I was told by a guitarist friend that Jez Williams, the lead guitarist, is considered by many to be the top dog in Britain at the moment. “Top dog” meaning best guitarist, as opposed to best shagger….
Cody: Yes, he does have a multiplicity of riffage.

To read the full thing, click here.

Contactmusic.com: Lincoln Live Review

Contactmusic.com today put up a positive review of the Lincoln Engine Shed show, though apparently the crowd were a bit crap..

In recent shows the Doves have been kicking their set list with ‘Jetstream’ but tonight is different, tonight is gearing up for the big one and they kick off with a perfect rendition of ‘House Of Mirrors’ flowed quickly through into ‘Caught By The River’ showcasing that the band are equally comfortable with both their new and old material. Sadly it seems that the crowd is somewhat less enthusiastic, and yet the band still carry on with hit after a hit (and with that I’m not saying a no1, just a quality tune). ‘Pounding’ sounds so immense and then ’10:03′ gives Jimi Goodwin a chance to bellow his vocals out over the music, which sounds effortless.

Yet there is still nothing from the subdued Lincoln crowd, but that doesn’t seem to deter this Manc trio as they finish off their set with a bit of a surprise in the shape of ‘The Cedar Room’ and after this lack luster reaction from the crowd you wonder if the Jimi and friends are actually going to come back and do the encore?

To read the full review, click here.

Manchester Central Setlist

Setlist

Where We’re Calling From
House Of Mirrors
Snowden
Winterhill
Pounding
Jetstream
Firesuite
Kingdom Of Rust
10:03
Outsiders
Words
Greatest Denier
Black And White Town
Caught By The River

The Cedar Room
Here It Comes
Last Broadcast
The Fear

Spaceface

The NME were at the gig. A wee review up on the site:

The band treated fans to a career-spanning set at the venue formerly known as G-Mex and admitted the enormity of the show was “overwhelming”.

Tracks from their most recent album ‘Kingdom Of Rust’ such as ’10:03′ were mixed in with fan favourites ‘Black And White Town’ and ‘Snowden’.

Meanwhile, the band were joined by the London Bulgarian Choir for a number of songs, such as ‘Cedar Room’ and ‘Firesuite’

Introducing ‘Pounding’, singer Jimi Goodwin told the crowd: “Let’s make the G-Mex shudder and shake like the old days.”

He later thanked fans for their support over their decade-spanning career.

“This is the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to in out hometown, it means a fucking lot. Merry Christmas.”.

Absolute Radio Review

Picture by NLF

Once again Paul Bingley won a comp to see doves live, so once again he has written a cracking write-up of the whole experience.. Its all there.. the free drinks, a silver fox sighting & some alright music..

Absolute Radio is nice. Not just for its playlists or broadcasting ability, but for the fact that if there’s ever a Doves competition to be won, it posts the details on the Doves forum. Aww bless.

On Thursday 3rd December, it did just that – announcing that two pairs of tickets for an intimate Doves session were up for grabs – but only if someone could answer a pathetically simple question. Consider it done, I thought, before thinking no more of it.

Thirty minutes later I received a phone call. I’d only gone and won again (this was the third competition in six months – lucky me). “Can you make it to London tomorrow afternoon?” the caller asked. I had no leave entitlement and didn’t fancy going sick again (it would be the third time in six months – poor me), but yes, I would, whatever the weather. So at 1pm the next day, I made my feeble excuse and skulked out of the office. A little over an hour and a half later I arrived at Soho’s House of St Barnabas.

This large Georgian building is used as a ‘House of Charity’ to support homeless people in London. To boost its funds, parts of the building are hired out for weddings, dinner parties and press launches (and intimate radio sessions too, it seems). On arrival I was ushered into the compact Monro Room and found myself alone except for two lovely waitresses and a large table of drinks. This is shaping up to be a great prize, I thought.

In no time at all I was joined by a hundred other guests. Were we all winners? The answer was no. 99% of the people there were advertising executives taking advantage of an Absolute Radio sweetener given in recognition of their business during the past year. What a perk of the job, eh?

At three o’clock we were all shepherded into the ‘Chapel’ – an ornate space built sometime in 1863. I found a position just to the right of the pulpit and immediately next to Absolute presenter and comedian, Dave Gorman. He shuffled past me and welcomed everybody before dedicating the performance to the memory of “a dear friend”. The chapel fell silent. Several uncomfortable seconds passed before Gorman added, “he’s not dead – he’s just got a good memory.”

I could see the Silver Fox’s streaked hair quiver in appreciation at the back of the Chapel before Doves were introduced. Jimi and Jez (complete with acoustic guitars and Martin Rebelski) strode a few steps through the audience to the front of the chapel. I soon realised I’d blagged a fantastic spot when Jez positioned himself directly in front of me. I then proceeded to watch it all in ultra high-definition.

Already it was poles apart from any other Doves gig I’d been to. I thought back to Bingley and the Royal Festival Hall and how ‘epic’ they had been. I then glanced around the few people in that miniature St Barnabas Chapel and felt enormously privileged to be there. Doves opened with a faultless rendition of ‘Kingdom of Rust’ before quickly moving on to ‘The Greatest Denier’.

‘There Goes the Fear’ came next but not without trouble. Towards the end of the song Jimi fluffed his chords and the band (and audience) collapsed in laughter. At one point, Martin Rebelski tinkled the theme tune to Sorry (80s comedy made famous by the line “language Timothy!”). Jimi didn’t swear, though, he just introduced the song again.

After stirring the audience with another impeccable version of ‘There Goes the Fear’, Jimi announced that the next song would be a cover version of Low’s ‘Just Like Christmas’. It proved to be a fitting hymn given the time of year and surroundings. It was also played majestically.

And that was it. Just as soon as they had arrived, so Doves left. I can’t help admitting to a tinge of disappointment that it was all over so soon. But however brief it was, it was just as absolutely fabulous.

Doves live session is due to air tonight 7pm on Absolute Radio.

For more pictures, visit www.absolute radio sessions gallery here.

Electric Proms Independent Review

Better late than never eh? The Independent posted up thier review of the Elecetric Proms show late last week:

Doves released their fourth album, Kingdom of Rust, earlier this year, and it has been widely hailed their best yet. Its bittersweet lyrics and sweeping melodies, delivered in epic rock songs, are not far from their first album, Lost Souls, that won them a loyal fan base in 2000. That’s not to say their music hasn’t developed – it just hasn’t flirted with fads.

Until now it seems. For this performance, Doves were joined by the London Bulgarian Choir, whose eerily beautiful harmonies lifted Doves’ soaring music
to new heights, right into the Roundhouse’s exposed rafters.

Doves opened with two serviceable tracks, but things took off when the LBC joined them on “Firesuite”, creating a dense, dissonant soundscape that added cinematic heft. When Doves frontman Jimi Goodwin announced “they’re giving me tingles”, he spoke for us all.

To read the full review, click here.

Dubai Sound City

Photo courtesy of dubaisoundcity.com

And we’re back! Refreshed after a wee break away. Expect regular updates as per usual. Not too much to report since the last update. A special DJ set later this month has been announced for the Manchester Ritz. See news item above for full details.

The band did perform at the Dubai Sound City Festival late last week. It seems as if doves were one of the few bands who bothered to turn up, judging by the reviews. Time out said..

highlights were Doves, who battled a bass-heavy speaker system to deliver their best tunes.

Clash Music says:

The Irish Village is pretty packed by the time Doves take to the stage and there’s a new vibe about the place. The buzz has finally arrived, the beer is flowing and it’s still gloriously warm.

‘Cease The Day’ gets a huge reaction, and one that’s deserved, as does ‘Kingdom of Rust’, played in front of a big screen showing images of London just to make everyone feel a little homesick. But it’s ‘Black and White Town’ and ‘There Goes The Fear’ that are the real highlights.

Doves will return to the live stage next month for a short UK tour, which should be announced soon. If you emailed me whilst I was away, I will reply. Just give me a couple of days to catch up with everything.

Roundhouse Review

Once again Paul Bingley has written a cracking review for the blog, this time of the Roundhouse Electric Proms show.

The time had come. At seven o’clock the doors opened and hundreds of eager souls piled into the Roundhouse. A few of us streamed upstairs to Torquil’s Bar. Several people were already clustered around its doorway queuing for a drink. As we inched through, my eyes lit up. Inside and to the right were Jarvis Cocker and Steve Lamacq having a chinwag. Florence (minus the Machine) scampered past and lovingly hugged a bystander. In the background, one of The Magic Numbers smiled broadly at no-one in particular. Was this a dream or were we witnessing some kind of surreal Q magazine cover shoot?


It was neither. Just like us, they were all here to rock with Doves. It wouldn’t just be Doves, either. No, this time around the band would be joined onstage by the London Bulgarian Choir. An odd combination, yes, but this was the BBC Electric Proms. So here we were, 3,000 people convened together on day three, just 24 hours after a resounding performance by Dizzee Rascal and the day before Dame Shirley Bassey was due to clear her pipes. Thankfully it had been ages since Robbie Williams rolled off the stage.


My wife and I (together with the board’s very own Baldilocks) left the bar where Jarvis Cocker was now spinning 6Music’s wheels of steel, and made our way to the main space. We found ourselves a spot very close to the centre of the stage and just behind a really tall bloke. That’s the power of Doves – only they can pull you away from a sight like Jarvis Cocker DJing in a half-empty bar towards the back of someone’s head.


First onto the stage was a group of wrinkly pensioners led by a short bald man in a pink shirt. They immediately launched into something I recognised – ‘Shot by Both Sides’. This was Magazine, purveyors of “genuine old world charm” as singer Howard Devoto eloquently put it.


After they left the stage having played a stonking set, the really tall bloke (clearly a Magazine fan) briefly moved away from the barrier. I made a beeline, dragging my wife with me. Graciously he allowed us to remain there on the proviso that we look after his jacket which he’d draped over the barrier. If the truth be known, I would have taken the man out to dinner had he asked. That was how good our position was – just left of Jimi’s mic stand and slap bang in the front row.


It was all shaping up to be so much more than your average gig. The Roundhouse is mightily impressive – big, round and musically historic. There were hulking cameras positioned in a variety of locations, bright searching spotlights bathing the stage and a certain Edith Bowman high on a balcony facing a dazzling white light and chewing on a microphone. It was obvious that the BBC was in town and it was all becoming rather exciting.


In the darkness at the rear of the stage, the choir (resplendent in their Bulgarian costumes) quietly climbed onto a semi-circular raised platform and waited. Then the band arrived. ‘Roundhouse man,” Jez remarked, “top.” Enough said. Opening with ‘Snowden’ (a break from the usual ‘Jetstream’), they moved onto a flawless ‘Winter Hill’ before Jimi introduced the choir and then announced ‘Firesuite’. Goosebumps at the ready…


For those of us overly familiar with this song’s arrangement, to hear it played with such a radically different vocal accompaniment (and in such a setting) was breathtaking and utterly beguiling. The thing that really captivated me, though, were the smiles of the choir. This was how music really should besimply making people happy.


Those watching seemed slightly more restrained. I could only surmise that it was because of the cameras (and the threat that anything they did shout would be taken down and recorded for posterity). It didn’t stop one woman, though.Hello mum!” she screamed during one particularly quiet moment. “Spaceface Jimi!” I shouted in retaliation. Needless to say my request fell on deaf ears. Judging by the crowd, tonight wasn’t going to be the night for that one.


The old favourites were there, though. ‘10:03’, ‘Pounding’ and ‘Black and White Town’ to name but three. Even the spurned ‘Catch the Sun’ made a spectacular return. But it was the reappearance of ‘The Storm’ which surprised me most. It lent itself perfectly to a choir and I thought it was performed beautifully, especially by Jez, whose voice was pitch-perfect throughout.


None of the band, it must be said, put a foot (or note) wrong. Jimi, as ever, performed brilliantly. Andy continues to provide the perfect beat whatever the song, and Martin Rebelski quietly brings out the atmospherics. But it was the addition of the choir that offered something completely different.


The backing vocals on ‘Kingdom of Rust’ were haunting and really complimented the sweeping beauty of the song. ‘The Last Broadcast’ sounded even more gorgeous when accompanied by so many voices. In effect, the choir sprinkled the music with some ethereal moments – none more so than during ‘Birds Flew Backwards’.


In all honesty I’ve never been a big fan of the song. It’s nice, but that’s about it. But when you mix in a folk choir and some Indian instruments, then it becomes something else altogether – something beautiful. I don’t mind admitting that I was moved to tears.


Dignity was briefly restored with ‘The Cedar Room’. Thanks again to the choir, though, it was the first time I’d ever found myself clapping along to its beat. There’s only one word for the performance of this song at that moment – phenomenal.


It was left to crowd favourite ‘There Goes the Fear’ to bring down the curtain on an unforgettable evening. But what should have been your regular run-of-the-mill set closer will now go down in history as the moment that I was caught on national TV bopping like an epileptic cat. That’ll teach me for standing so close to Doves.

Thanks Paul! Fanatasic stuff again.


Electric Proms: Meat and Potatoes Review

The reviews keep coming, I think Music OMH enjoyed it..

****

Doves’ gig at the Roundhouse, part of the BBC’s short-lived, but increasingly influential Electric Proms series, was backed by the 20-strong London Bulgarian Choir. Their dramatic and sometimes otherworldly Gregorian chants lifted much of the Mancunians’ sometimes plodding output, although even their presence couldn’t save a few of the newer tracks from dragging.

Perhaps it says something about the band that their older songs – in particular the epic Cedar Room or the rarely-performed Catch The Sun (played only, according to Jimi Godwin, because the choir “forced us to”) are the ones that lend themselves best to off-kilter operatics. While newer tracks like Winter Hill, The Storm and Jetstream were fine enough, Doves didn’t try their hand at changing the songs to suit the choir, meaning that half the stage was too often taken up with a group of slightly awkward looking Bulgarians – a sad state of affairs for all concerned.

Goodwin’s men have developed – fairly or not – a reputation for delivering plodding meat and potatoes rock. While not in the Stereophonics mould yet, there are a couple of lulls (particularly The Greatest Denier and 10.03) that with a little more imagination both with their setlist and with the choir could have sent the concert stratospheric. The exclusion of The Last Broadcast’s gospel-tinged Satellites is a real misstep, and once the Bulgarian choir have demonstrated their awe-inspiringly powerful vocal range in a couple of solo folk songs (“This one is about falling for someone from another village” explains the choir leader, charmingly) the concert felt a little short on the soar.

To read the full article, click here.

.. and I think that’s enough for today. Plenty more reaction I’m sure over the weekend.

 

Doves Lost Souls Interview

Andy Williams Cedar EP Interview

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