Kingdom of Rust
The other day, while shopping in Asda I found my self humming along to Elbow's On A Day Like This which was playing on what I presume was Asda FM and it got me thinking: surely this is when you know you've made it, when your artistic creations filter down to Asda level. Hell, I even heard that song playing in the Rovers on Corrie. This has been a long time coming for Elbow and it couldn't have happened to a better band or with a better album than The Seldom Seen Kid. I've always thought that Doves occupy a similar musical space to Elbow and have always curiously escaped the dizzy heights of Asda. Why bands like Coldplay have rocketed to star status with songs a fraction as good as Doves will forever escape me. By all accounts, based on the work they've put out so far, Doves should be one of the biggest bands in the world.
They're certainly one of the most steady bands performing today. Since their debut in 2000 they've delivered three strong albums full of stadium filling sounds that seem to have been born with the great ease. And yet we don't read about Jimi Goodwin's love exploits in the pages of Grazia. They're the Ryan Giggs of rock if you like - and with the fourth installment, Kingdom Of Rust, they should be getting the golden boot.
The first three songs on Kingdom Of Rust are Doves past, present and future and they're three of the best songs this band has ever produced. Choosing Jetstream as the opening song is a clear statement that the past five years since Some Cities haven't been wasted and Doves have certainly grown. It's a slow building, synth-heavy opener that swells to embrace Doves' previous Sub Sub qualities and levels out to a full-on techno-driven bullet train of a song. The title track is pretty much all you want from a Doves track - Goodwin's vocals riding atop a gently growing wave of delicate guitar work and euphoric melodies. Every one of their albums has one of these songs, the kind that make you want to throw your arms high in the air, The Cedar Room, There Goes The Fear and Black And White Town all had this and Kingdom Of Rust continues the tradition majestically. The Outsiders sees this band emerging from the last five years of silence with a new outlook, a darkly brooding tension and a refreshed muscular intention. Built around a relentless Krautrock rhythm it takes all of the past work and moulds it all into a seriously powerful sound that shows that this band may not have Asda FM knocking but they're not about to start trying to catch their ear. Emerging from the tinkling majesty of the previous track, The Outsiders drops its shoulder and drives forward into this driving, bass-heavy sound. To have a frontman playing bass really positions Goodwin as the central figure here. His ragged vocals are the sound of this band, but more notably than ever, his bass forms the throbbing vein of many of the best songs.
Though the album doesn't quite match the impact of the three-pronged opening assault it is never short of highlights. From 10.03's instrumental grunge breakdown that smashes Goodwin's astral first half to Compulsion's awkward 80's beat-fest, right through to House Of Mirrors ragged and endlessly pounding anthem, Kingdom Of Rust oozes great songs. It's a Doves album through and through, but things have changed. They've been watching the past five years but still do their own thing. It's hard to say that Doves haven't tasted the success they deserve when you see them playing to heaving crowds at Glastonbury - but somehow they haven't and this album is unlikely to change - that but in the shadow cast by that success there's room to take your time with your albums and come out with a stunning piece of work.
1st May 2009 - Tumblr4
(dir. Armando Iannucci)
(dir. Ron Howard)
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