Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Doves take flight at last

Doves, the aurally adventuresome trio from Manchester, have yet to crack the big time that they deserve. They should have broken through with their 2000 record, "Lost Souls," one of the great debuts of all time. When I interviewed the band back then, guitarist Jez Williams summed up the ambition and scope of "Lost Souls" as "a little bit more subversive than a straightforward rock album. Sonically, we've made sure that it has quite a lot of depth to it."

The two excellent followups, "The Last Broadcast"and "Some Cities," have stayed true to the band's quest for to pursue new musical frontiers. But, despite garnering rave reviews and a healthy fanbase, the big time has remained elusive. The band adjourned for a lengthy hiatus to top up its creative batteries and are finally ready to release a fourth album, "Kingdom of Rust," in early April. It's preceded by a free download of a new song called "Jetstream." (Visit and sign up to get it.) The track, which the band describe as an imaginary composition for the movie "Blade Runner," harks back to their earliest incarnation as the electronic-oriented band Sub Sub. You'll have to listen to the track with a stethoscope to detect Jez Williams's guitar buried under the throbbing synths. It's pretty damn groovy and typically catchy.

In a recent piece in The Guardian about the best musical prospects for 2009, Fraser Kennedy, producer of Live At Abbey Road, says, "I also think the Doves will make a comeback. They're getting up that big head of steam that's going make them ... well, not the next Coldplay, but they're going to step up like Elbow have. I've heard the new record, and it's fantastic."

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