Doves - Some Cities

2009-06-22 10:40

There's something deeply serviceable about the Doves. Every song on Some Cities, no matter how emotional the topic, is as tight as a mine worker's boot.

Separately, the elements that make up their sound are not terribly impressive, or unique. Jimi Goodwin's voice is at best gravelly and honest, and at worst damaged - you can hear this guy inhale between phrases, and inflective subtlety is not his game. Jez's guitar is a strong centrepiece. But we've heard it all before.

But what they lack in polish and freshness, the Doves make up for with lyrical sincerity, and their unflashy but sophisticated arrangements. Long, searching melodic phrases, thick production with plenty of intelligently placed electronic effects, are their trademarks. Above all the sense that they are, for want of a better description "a real band," makes it all hang together.

Their songs ring gallantly of high-emotion rock acts gone before them. Fans of The Verve, R.E.M, Radiohead, U2, Oasis and some older Beatles recordings will hear their favourite bands' influences here, there, and subtly everywhere. Doves' themes are those of place, space, displacement and belonging - not puppy love or other rock standards. This reflective earnestness makes their music hard to hook up to on first listen, but give it a few plays and you'll catch on.

Highlights of Some Cities include its title track, as well as the addictive "Black and white town", "Almost forgot myself"'s unforgettable bounce-inducing intro and guitar refrain chorus, the radio friendly "One of these days", and the touching simplicity of "Someday soon". Actually there are no bad tracks.

And despite dark themes. Doves keep the energy levels up and hold your attention right to the end of the final song, proving again and again that originality doesn't matter as much as we often believe.

- Jean Barker


Some Cities is plucky and resilient-- it wants badly to show you its hurt but wouldn't dare spill its guts straight; that would be impudent. Doves know better: They hold their breath to the end, until, wheezing and transparent, their hearts shine clear.
- Sam Ubl for Pitchfork Media

This is the sound of a band pushing themselves to the limit of their songwriting abilities and they're clearly enjoying every minute.
- Dan Tallis for BBC

It's possible that Some Cities is just a cul de sac, but there's also the possibility that this is just the beginning of the boring rock plod phase of Doves career. Either way, it's harder to have faith than ever before.
- Ian Mathers for Stylus Magazine

Doves are no rock puppies. The twin Goodwin brothers Jimi (vocals) and Jez (guitar), together with Andy Williams on drums, had a club hit with "Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)" in 1998. A string of hits followed, then a first full album Lost Souls in 2001, then The Last Broadcast in 2002. They toured the US and the UK to packed stadiums. Three years later, Some Cities proves that they're a band with staying power, and one we really want around.

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