First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2005, Volume 12, #3
Written by John Metzger
Despite the release of its third outing Some Cities, Doves still seems to be searching for its niche. The groupís history dates back to 1993 when under the moniker Sub Sub, it became a fixture within Manchester, Englandís dance club scene. Five years later, however, as the music world altered its course, the ensemble changed its name to Doves and began following a different career path. Its debut Lost Souls revealed the collectiveís newfound infatuation with Radioheadís dreary, dreamy escapades; its sophomore effort The Last Broadcast delved into joyously grandiose dance-pop; and its latest offering Some Cities largely succeeds in marrying these two worlds. The problem, however, is that while all three collections have been crafted ambitiously, the band still sounds as if it is cutting and pasting its influences together in order to manufacture an identity and latch onto a market trend.
Employing a kitchen-sink approach, Doves ó which features Jimi Goodwin and twin brothers Jez and Andy Williams ó invokes within the 11 tracks of Some Cities everything from the slinky grooves of Motown to the Happy Mondaysí manic, "Madchester" raves, and from the furiously cascading, post-punk of U2 to the vigorous Britpop of Oasis. Yet, despite the rippling guitars, the bubbling bass, the hazy vocals, and the powerhouse percussion, at its core, the groupís music still feels a little hollow. In essence, while it has become quite good at constructing ambience ó the heady swirl of its sonic scenery is, at times, quite breathtaking ó the band still hasnít found its true emotional calling. For the record, the ensemble does appear to be making strides, however slowly, in this direction, and Some Cities contains its most cohesive batch of songs to date. Its tales of alienation and lost innocence form a loosely-knit suite that pays tribute to life under the cloudy, grey skies of the trioís hometown, but despite the collectiveís consistently lofty aspirations, the effort doesnít remain compelling when placed under close scrutiny. While there undoubtedly is a masterpiece lurking in Dovesí future, Some Cities, unfortunately, isnít it.
Some Cities is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box