Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Doves -- Kingdom Of Rust

Doves -- Kingdom Of Rust (Astralwerks/Heavenly)

It’s starting to sound like Doves are making a box set of wonderful pop albums, one disc at a time. The band mixes melancholy tunes that have the grandeur of romantic predecessors like The Blue Nile with lessons the members learned in getting people out on the dance floor. The result isn’t dance music, but classic pop with a modern edge and some groove. This is well illustrated on “Compulsion”, which melds a prominent slowed down disco bass line with prettily strummed guitars and a haunting shoegazer chorus to make something both familiar and unique. At times the band verges on anthemic, as on “The Greatest Denier”. However, the big music here never goes over the top, only threatening to do so, adding to the excitement. The two best songs are the title cut, which has an uncharacteristic loping Western shuffle rhythm over the usual beautiful melody, and “Spellbound”, a breathtaking mid-tempo ballad with lovely lead guitar work over a cascade of acoustic guitars, with a typically soulful and engaged lead vocal. This is probably just a shade below the band’s last effort, Some Cities, but that’s just the difference between classic and merely great.

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