Of all the post-Brit-pop outfits, Doves reaches back the furthest; the trio originated as one-hit wonders Sub Sub, whose heyday was during the UK's late-1980s Madchester movement. Jimi Goodwin and twins Jez and Andy Williams formed Doves in 1998, and while Radiohead got the critical mash notes, and the Verve's antics frenzied the tabloids, this trio quietly released four albums in the past nine years.
Doves' latest dishes out a sound that's far more complex than you'd expect from three guys. Credit the fact that the threesome never wholly abandoned the fusion of psychedelic rock and dance music that was an integral aspect of their prior incarnation. Recorded in a barn in the English countryside, this collection of songs reflects a sweet sense of melancholy, whether it's "Winter Hill" and its allusions to innocent first love, soaked in Mellotron and swirling guitar riffs, or "Spellbound," whose ethereal jangle recalls a less-pretentious Coldplay. Like Spiritualized or early Primal Scream, Doves are able to pack some punch into an otherwise seemingly innocuous ambient setting. A thunderous bassline and crashing guitars are sandwiched between the genteel cello that usher in "10:03" and Goodwin's forlorn croon at the end. Likewise "Lifelines," which uses layered riffs and muscular reverb to build up into a highly satisfying atmospheric soundscape. In the end, Doves impress with an approach that's far from staid or passive. (Astralwerks/Heavenly Recording)
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