DOVES – Kingdom Of Rust (Heavenly)

It is hard to believe that it is four years since the last Doves album, and so news of the impending release of ‘Kingdom Of Rust’ was greeted with eager anticipation from their fans. Suffice to say that, like Elbow before them, their fanbase knew all along that this album was going to be a cracker, and what we were eventually presented with is perhaps their finest collection of songs to date. Their roots as 90’s dance act Sub Sub makes a showing on the pulsating rhythms of ‘Jetstream’, and while my first impression might have been that they going all Bloc Party on me, this was soon dispelled by the superb title track. A sort of country-rockish track with great playing by the band and enhanced by some fine orchestration, this is a classic Doves song of lost love and redemption. ‘The Outsiders’ rocks along in grand style, and is followed by one of the best songs on the album in ‘Winter Hill’. This sort of anthemic offering is what Doves do best, and will go down a storm at gigs. ’10.03’ is another of Jimi Goodwin’s train songs, and has a suitably metronomic rhythm to it, while ‘The Greatest Denier’ is just outstanding – one of their greatest performances on record, and one of my favourite tracks. ‘Birds Flew Backwards’ is a floating, spacey song to bring you down gently from the onslaught of the previous track, and then ‘Spellbound’ takes you off again into classic Doves territory. ‘Compulsion’ seems to have been universally criticised for ripping off Blondie’s ‘Rapture’, and while you can hear it once it is pointed out to you it is more a homage than a steal. However, it just doesn’t really sound like Doves, and for that reason it is the least successful track on the album. The band redeem themselves effortlessly with ‘House Of Mirrors’, however, being a fuzz-drenched stomper of a tune, with atonal guitar and juddering clumps of noise seemingly dropped in at random. ‘Lifelines’ is a great track to close the album, being a perfect example of Doves sound, and another brilliant song to boot. There are few bands that I know will never let me down with their music – Elbow, Green Pajamas, and Mogwai to name but three – and Doves are in there with them, with this album being a vindication of my faith in the band to produce consistently good music.
The Greatest Denier