October 22, 2022

Doves – Some Cities (Heavenly)

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Dearest Heavenly Doves – they flapped up out of the shadowy cobbled canyons and back-alleys of Salford and Ardwick like a trio of cheeky, if ageing, angelic messengers and sang to us – my God how they sang! – filling those portentous days of 2000 with beauty and magic and yearning and excitement and hope. So this was what the twenty-first century was going to be like! Lost Souls was so brim-full of fine music that to this day I can only think of a handful of début albums that comes close in terms of sheer consistency of brilliance. Firesuite, Here It Comes, Break Me Gently, Rise, Lost Souls, The Man Who Told Everything, The Cedar Room, A House …. Just to repeat the titles is to start it all over again. Each one a gem, a marvel, a little piece of perfection. Stop! Be still, my tender heart!

So what happened?

God knows. Everyone’s allowed a sophomore that sucks – it’s practically de rigeur – so we’ll overlook The Last Broadcast. Me, I think the tiniest seed of an explanation lay in the way Andy started thrashing the drums like a runaway pile-driver at the end of Lost Souls on Lost Souls – that got expanded to a complete song in itself – Pounding – in Last Broadcast – that became a chart hit and a Doves signature – that became this … et voilá … merde happens.

Some Cities is the kind of predigested pap they spread on Hovis and dish out on Jolly Hospital FM to the poor sods lying in corridors into their second year of waiting for hip replacements on the NHS – something a bit like The Kinks with a hint of Northern Soul tossed in to take your mind off the screams. There’s no connection whatosoever between this odious battery-farm ordure and the nourishing free-range organic wholesomness that was Lost Souls. Lost Souls was glorious, life-enhancing, complex, inspirational music. Some Cities is just shit, shrink-wrapped in patronising corporate sleaze-speak that tries to make out it’s some sort of a concept album ‘about’ the changing face of Manchester. Ena Sharples! If I were a Mancunian (which I am, come to think of it) I’d say what a load of old toss. Poo. Take it away. Go rattle your tin at someone else.