Doves soar with heavenly popDoves - Some Cities
4 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Aug. 30, 2005
Review by Tony BonyataA little over a half-decade since the demise of Britpop as a major influence on the musical landscape, the Manchester band Doves give reason to rejoice in the new sounds emerging from across the pond.
On their third album Some Cities the trio has tighten the reigns for their most direct and satisfying effort to date. Although vocalist / bassist Jimi Goodwin, guitarist Jez Williams and twin brother drummer Andy Williams have purposely set out for "that band in a room sound," they in no way have sacrificed their own traditional musical values for a newfound, stripped-down honesty. While heavenly pop melodies and Goodwin's deep, rich vocals help cut-to-the-quick of these songs, they also still retain the otherworldly atmospheres and stunning production values of their two preceding albums.
There are so many immediate songs that grab you, such as "Walk In The Fire," "Black And White Town," "Almost Forgot Myself" and the knockout opening title track, that by the end of this eleven-track journey, you're ready to start it all over again. But there are also a couple of wallflowers, such as the haunting dirge of the piano-blessed "Shadows of Salford" and the etherealness of the closing track "Ambition," whose inner beauty is only revealed over time.
Despite the fact that Doves don't mirror the sounds of fellow Mancunians, such as The Smiths, Stone Roses, New Order and other bands to emerge from the influential Factory Records, they still somehow posses that cool, detached vibe - even if only buried deep within the soul of the songs. If it can be said that their music resembles anyone else's, then Coldplay, U2 and OK Computer-era Radiohead would come closest to the tip of the tongue. But despite an album of spacious, majestic and, at times, nearly epic pop music, there is also a sense of firm-footed realness that sidesteps some of the pomp and pretenses of these other bands.
To call Some Cities a modern masterpiece might be going out on a limb, but considering it's about as close we've gotten so far this year, it's a branch with enough strength to support this claim.
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