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)
3121 - The O2
(dir. Ron Howard)
Intense, mournful coming-of-age drama. Very stylish and operatic. Terrence Mallick via John Singleton.
21st Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Intricately plotted, but seamlessly crafted into a lighthearted modern classic.
20th Oct 2017Read more 5 star reviews
Belated sequel that remixes the original with some success, but the nostalgia runs a little thin.
15th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
A Beautiful Mind meets the A-Team. Convoluted actioner that doesn’t transcend its premise.
11th Oct 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Solid, uplifting biopic. Well structured with moments of real tension despite the inevitable ending. And 91m.
11th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Good visuals, nice music, flabby storytelling and a confusing plot. A worthy sequel.
6th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Convoluted, charmless sequel. A rare misfire from Pixar.
17th Sep 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Andrea Arnold transplants her class observations to the US. Unforgivably long, if beautifully shot.
17th Sep 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Billie Joe Armstrong plays a former star dealing with 40. Good concept, rendered as flat as possible.
16th Sep 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Woefully inept, on-the-nose sci-fi romance. A reasonable concept executed in the worst way possible.
10th Sep 2017Read more 1.5 star reviews
Nicely directed, but a true story often doesn’t make for a well shaped film.
31st Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Over-complicated, over-stylised mess from a director who clearly fluked his debut.
30th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Overlooked Dr. Suess adaptation from the Minions guys. Charming, but lacking a stand out character.
30th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Utterly standard undercover cop gets in too deep movie.
29th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Stylish modern sci-fi with a clever structure, but it's still a film about subtitled aliens.
24th Aug 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Clever, quirky, black comedy parable that runs out of steam.
23rd Aug 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Despite the good press, it's another shapeless, bloated one-dimensional rough cut from Christopher Nolan.
17th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Ambitious CGI can’t save this bland comic book entry. Cumberbatch’s accent strikes the death blow.
17th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Unchallenging drama investigating life with eating disorders. Occasional Keanu Reeves.
12th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Flawless new-generation animation from Disney. Action, heart, comedy and very catchy songs.
6th Aug 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Intense, terrifying, riveting thriller from Tom Ford. Great performances and assured direction.
22nd Jul 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Reasonable zombie drama. More rewarding than Walking Dead, but still a bit derivative.
14th Jul 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Intense, borderline arthouse Canadian kidnap drama from Atom Egoyan. Ryan Reynolds impresses.
8th Jul 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Self-important, slightly contrived mainstream indie with the one with the good hair from Friends.
8th Jul 2017Read more 3 star reviews
More clichéd Terrence Malick. Amazing cinematography. Meandering improv. Great real-world settings.
6th Jul 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Brutal 80s TV movie, imagining nuclear winter. Age has blended the stock footage to horrifying perfection.
3rd Jul 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Surprisingly charming, sentimental, old style movie with no need for an antagonist. Plus, solid DeNiro.
1st Jul 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Never Go Back
Serviceable action sequel that ticks a lot of boxes without thinking outside of any.
27th Jun 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Totally predictable, thoroughly inspiring animated sing-a-long for the X-Factor generation.
24th Jun 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
B-list, mis-cast, low-ball girl gang comedy. Weak.
19th Jun 2017Read more 1.5 star reviews
Catastrophically miscast black comedy that fails at every turn. Big let down from star and director.
11th Jun 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Effortless retread of a show that survived well past it's sell-by date.
29th May 2017Read more 1.5 star reviews
Codswallop that's as indecipherable as every other recent DC movie. Terrible script, hammy acting.
22nd May 2017Read more 1.5 star reviews
Chaotic, bloated sequel. Low on humour and mostly involving bad guys flying through plate glass.
17th May 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Lazy, half-baked remake/reboot, totally lacking in charm.
17th May 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Wafer thin parenting parable, barely coasting along on the charm of Ferrell and Wahlberg.
16th May 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Classic western tropes burn slowly to an intense finale. Classic Jeff Bridges.
12th May 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Tired, pointless rehash of a franchise that long ran out of steam.
6th May 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Stooges doc that is interesting by default, but dull given that Jim Jarmusch is behind the camera.
28th Apr 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Poingiant doc of the latest Bad Seeds album. Still falls into the usual making-of box.
26th Apr 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Stylish, thought-provoking indie contemplating the weighty responsibilities of parenthood.
22nd Apr 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Great 90s blockbuster, with Harrison Ford carrying the movie on top finger-wagging form.
18th Mar 2017Read more 5 star reviews
Accomplished character piece. Almost stretches itself a bit thin, but it's stylish enough to transcend.
18th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Dated indie classic that uses music to create pseudo-sentimental highs of little real substance.
18th Mar 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Engaging, nostalgic doc which meanders through the rise and rise of 1995’s greatest band ever.
14th Mar 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Quintessential Gus Van Zant. Great art direction, acting and photography. Possibly better with age.
7th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Confident indie comedy-thriller that pitches itself perfectly.
4th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Thoughtful character study, with Eddie Marsan standing up for those who slip through the cracks.
26th Feb 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Brutally fast paced meta-fest, backed up by the most sensible bat-plot for a long time.
16th Feb 2017Read more 4 star reviews