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.
WITH three equally impressive, idiosyncratic albums to their name already, the right fourth album could assure Doves’ rightful place as one of our most consistently exciting bands. Kingdom Of Rust explores a layered, adventurous terrain, with nods to Kraftwerk and funk in various places, thanks to Jimi Goodwin’s unique howl and a Sub Sub-esque groove. Opener Jetstream and the title track will be known to fans already, but it’s perhaps Winter Hill, 10.03, arranged by Chemical Brother Tom Rowlands and anthemic closer Lifelines that typify Kingdom Of Rust best, bustling with ambition.
For a band who concentrate their attentions so much on texture and atmosphere, Doves have a canny knack of delivering a killer pop song to kick-start an album’s campaign. As with previous singles There Goes The Fear and Black And White Town, Kingdom Of Rust sounds like nothing else at the moment; a soft-focus jangly gem seemingly plucked from a Morricone-scored Western. Radio loves the track, with BBC, Absolute and Xfm stations showing support. Meanwhile, the band are midway through an extensive campaign of airplay sessions and are attracting interest from Channel Four, E4, Sky and a wealth of national press.
Doves – Kingdom Of Rust *** It’s been four years since Doves had their biggest hit Black And White Town. Since then, fellow northern English sadsacks Elbow have achieved crossover success. Let’s hope this jaunty Chris Rea-sounding upbeat tune helps the trio.
Doves have been made for the big-time ever since they started writing their second album, ‘The Last Broadcast’. But alas, the closest they’ve come to headlining any such setting has been on support slots with U2. So you can’t say they’ve had a hard life, but all the same, they deserve more. And the most annoying thing is, most people know it.
One can’t help but feel Doves have seen what happened to Elbow last year and fancied a piece of the grown up bloke action themselves. So here is album title track ‘Kingdom of Rust’ – an ambitious, chugga-chugga steam engine of a pop tune which has Misirlou dashes, 50s throwback guitars a la Richard Hawley, and quite a bit of the Neil Hannons in its arrangement and strings, before breaking down to a semi-bluesy workout.
Doves – Kingdom Of Rust: Recorded at a converted farmhouse up in North West England, Kingdom of Rust primarily features production work from Dan Austin (Massive Attack), with two additional tracks helmed by industry vet John Leckie (XTC, Stone Roses, Radiohead’s The Bends). The single ‘Kingdom of Rust’ sees Doves return with an utter epic album of eclectic tunes that takes you on a journey somehow perfectly painting a picture of the Northwest of England in a way that only Doves can do. I can hear so many influences in this single, the likes of Blondie, Bowie and the Clash to name but a few.