A collection of monumental music to truly cherish.
Mark Beaumont 2010-03-30
It speaks volumes about Doves’ far-reaching ambitions – or perhaps their lack of provincial attitude – that they’ve made such a mighty noise for over a decade without ever being tagged a ‘Manchester band’.
When they shed their rave pop guise of Sub Sub and emerged in 1998 with glacial ghost story The Cedar Room – an amorphous spectre of a tune as haunting as the ghouls that inhabited its lyrics – their atmospheric bass throbs and sunbeam-surfing guitars spoke more of Viennese spires shrouded in gothic mist than cocaine benders down The City. Instead of being tethered to geographical roots, Doves took wing, inspiring hordes of potato-faced blokes, from I Am Kloot to Elbow, to make music as beautiful as they weren’t. In their time, Jimi Goodwin and Andy and Jez Williams have come to epitomise what can only be described as Mercury Prize rock.
As expansive and ambitious as their sound, this best-of set draws together their most memorable hits, stand-out album tracks, B-sides and alternative versions across a standard and deluxe, expanded edition. That it still doesn’t find space for Satellites is testament to the quality of the monumental music on display.
The standard version opens with There Goes the Fear, hurtling from music box tinkles to Afrobeat freak-out via one of the most compulsive rock tunes of modern times. From there it takes in the ecstatic thumps of Words and Pounding, the broiling sci-fi country of Kingdom of Rust, and Here it Comes – arguably the blueprint for Amy Winehouse’s Motown revivalism. Fan of summery stadium pop? Catch the Sun. Fancy a spot of epic gospel? Caught by the River. Enjoy feeling like you’re having your face melodically blow-torched? Jetstream. Nothing under four minutes, and nothing short of staggering. Except pastoral plodder Sea Song, which sure ain’t no Satellites.
Doves aren’t quite a Smiths, Oasis or Suede when it comes to knocking out essential B sides, so the bonus-disc package, featuring alternative versions too, won’t be for everyone. Cherry pick the best of it – The Drifter is a carnival-esque classic you’ll be amazed isn’t your favourite Doves song already, and Valley is an enthralling harpsichord ode to a family’s slide into poverty. But the main focus here should be on the lead disc, truly a collection to cherish.