Submitted by Alex Wilson 15.05.07
Jez Williams (Vox and Guitar)
Andy Williams (Vox and Drums)
Jimi Goodwin (Bass, Guitar, Vox)
When a band comes along with such luscious scope and acute sonic vision as Doves the mere mortals of indie-guitar-dom might as well pack away there skinny jeans and think about becoming accountants. Like phoenixes from the Ancoat ashes (see Sub Sub entry for that story) did Doves rise, and in the process have given us three meticulous records that cement there position in the Manchester music cognoscenti.
It’s all too rare that a debut album strolls along and is a picture of completion; Doves Lost Souls sits comfortably in such praise. With a little assistance from Rob Gretton, Doves re-located to New Order’s old studio in Cheetam Hill and shaped a sound that would tease us with three wonderful E.Ps and feed the beast that is Lost Souls. Nominated for a Mercury Prize- ironically beaten by another great Manchester debut, a certain Damon Gough no less- Lost Souls is one hour of dense, rewarding artistry that deserves repeated helpings.
Clearly inspired by the acid house flicker of Sub Sub, Lost Souls carries masses more substance here than the average post-britpop guitar warbler; electronic flourishes abound and instruments deviate experimentally from the textbook rock template, it’s a real joy. From the dramatic melancholy of ‘Man who Told Everything’ to the cavernous soul epic ‘Cedar Room’ and the rush-out fuzz of ‘Catch the Sun’ Lost Souls is greater than a sum of its lead singles however. What characterises Doves output is an unmistakable atmosphere; a wash of reverb here, a flurry of effects there, grainy, abstract paint strokes that make the Doves experience wholly unique and inspiring.
And so it would transpire upon the release of The Last Broadcast. With widespread critical acclaim and celebratory festival appearances underneath them, The Last Broadcast sees Doves pull bold new moves and a confident strut toward mainstream success. Released and then deleted on the same day, first single ‘There Goes The Fear’ is jangle-pop par excellence and rightly slammed into the dizzying chart position of number 3. The record itself went two better, Doves had arrived. The Motown stomp of ‘Pounding’ almost challenges any newcomers to abstain from dancing, whilst lyrically the album dances from tributes to Manchester’s trans-Atlantic spiritual cousin New York to the M62.
Written on a recording voyage that spanned the great breadth of this green land, taking in studio time in Snowden, Loch Ness, Darlington, Doves crashed in with third album Some Cities. The paranoid city-gloom-scape of Last Broadcast has been expanded upon with some delicate reflections on how the Manchester skyline is rapidly changing for better and for worse. The post-industrial transformation of Northern cities is ripe for lyrical gesture; at once positive it seems the very life, essence and soul of our hometowns is being ripped out by insipid commercialism and horrible architecture. Nevertheless this remains Doves’ most soulful and euphoric record to date; Motown still casts its beaming light on many tracks, radiant strings and synths glide in and out of the more angst-ridden moments and 4/4 dancefloor moments shine.
An accomplished record then, crafted by three musicians who will doubtless surprise and delight with the release of the next album. Currently in production and due for release at the end of 2007 it apparently promises “a change in direction”, I for one cannot wait to follow.