Review by LarryG|
2½ stars out of 4
Doves are among the bands that have benefitted from the British
pop audience's shift in interest from Beatlesque guitar bands like
Oasis and Blur to mellower, more atmospheric music. Doves' music is
more dreamlike and less poppy than Travis' or Coldplay's. They bring
to mind 80s synth bands like Tears For Fears and Ultravox, making
music that's serious with an interesting ambience but not always very
Review by Mark Fleming
Doves establish their personality from the start of Lost Souls
with the leisurely, spacy instrumental Firesuite. The music and lyrics
of Here It Comes are meant to be terribly meaningful with Jimi Goodwin
sending his tale of romantic deception "out to those who've been bad."
Melody Calls is a little cutesy in Goodwin's rock star delivery and
its overly poppy backing vocals but its tale of a girl living in the
musical world in her head could be about the band's philosophy: "a
melody calls, loops around." Reprise rehashes and repeats a riff that
had become tedious the first time around. A few songs on Lost Souls
remind me of Tears For Fears' slow, intense songs. Sea Song has a
sweep of serious keyboards for its tale of a drive "to the place you
won't believe." Strings are meant to add tension to The Man Who Told
Everything, a lugubrious tale of a man preparing to tell a secret that
will apparently benefit him but wreck the lives of others. You can
sing "shout, shout let it all out" over much of The Cedar Room. The
Cedar Room does have a good, intense feel, benefitting from Doves'
willingness to let a song take its time to grow. Jez Williams'
strumming continues to slowly build as Goodwin mournfully tries to
remember what went wrong in a relationship.
Lost Souls is often quite cool. The CD has an appealingly leisurely
pace. Doves are more concerned with creating a rich soundscape than
seeking rock and roll energy. Break Me Gently has distorted vocals and
a good I'm Not I'm Love style spacy atmosphere. Rise takes the time
to immerse the audience in a sound which matches the lyrics about
drowning yourself in a sea of love. The title track is the best use of
Doves' patient style, floating around until it reaches a gorgeous
climax. Andy Williams drumming is as insistent as it's going to get.
Jez Williams' guitar is filtered and processed to match the
Amid all the spaciness, Catch The Sun's is especially welcome.
Catch The Sun shows Doves can make a tight, compelling U2 style
soaring rocker. Jez ably deploys the guitar's thrill producing
potential. He evokes The Who and New Order as he mixes a big, sweeping
sound with piercing guitar lines. A House is also a refreshing change
from the CD's usually big, often empty sound. It keeps the
atmospherics to a minimum and has an almost Springsteen like stark
acoustic guitar simplicity as Goodwin sings about learning from his
I'd prefer it if Lost Souls had more rock and roll breaks from its
generally very intense, dense, slow arrangements and a little more
energy. Lost Souls has a number of stunning, beautiful songs that have
a compelling moodiness. Jez Williams' use of his guitars in mixing
with keyboards and creating rich soundscapes is often breathtaking.
But many of the songs are draggy, rather than leisurely. Goodwin's
singing can be heavy and humorless. The sameness and dreaminess can
make Lost Souls almost seem like it's fading away but it almost always
works as lush background music.
4 stars out of 4
Jez Williams (guitar), Jimi Goodwin (vocals, bass, samples) and Andy
Williams (drums, harmonica) are the Doves, and they are responsible for
'Lost Souls', a debut album of achingly-strong rock music.
The tunes are deceptive, at times sparse. Perhaps a basic
rhythm or subdued guitar lick is all it takes to set one musical idea
off in motion; by the time the song is rocketing towards its conclusion
it has become a multi-textured wonder. Vocals collide, melodies waft
in and out, and Andy William's harmonica provides a soulful refrain.
It is very difficult to select a stand-out from the 12 tracks, although
the sweeping majesty of 'Rise', with its singular bass hook, provides
one mesmerizing high point, closely followed by the title track, 'Lost
Souls', simply a heartbreakingly effective piece of music.
Doves are an exciting band who obviously trace their lineage back beyond
Punk to the likes of Velvet Underground, via the 80's starkness of
pre-Dance New Order, to the potent force they are today. But saddling
them with comparisons or pre-conceived ideas is unfair. 'Lost Souls'
is wonderfully melodic, biting and relevant music in its own right. Guitars,
electric and acoustic, swirling Hammond organs, harmonized voices, harmonicas
and samples all weave a hypnotic spell. Despite the off-key melancholia
hinted at in certain songs, there are many, many tunes which will leave
you whistling long after listening.
The title of the CD may be 'Lost Souls', but play this and you will
discover that Doves have Soul in spades.