Doves is a band often overlooked, but is one with quite a story to tell.
The story of the band starts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where the members were known as Sub Sub, a reasonably successful club dance act. However, in 1996 their studio burnt to the ground, taking all their recordings with it. The foundation of Doves comes from this disaster, and the sound of their first release, Lost Souls, certainly reflects that. It's a dark, brooding, nocturnal collection of sounds with a dense, meandering, yet vaguely claustrophobic density of guitars and reverb. As with Radiohead's OK Computer a few years prior, it's a melancholic deconstruction of the popular rock sound at that time. However, while Radiohead looked towards electronics and machinations, Doves turned to an introverted, almost folksy sound in places - the fact that Doves was the primary backing band for Badly Drawn Boy's acclaimed The Hour Of Bewilderbeast in the same year points firmly in that alt-folk direction.
Their second full-length, The Last Broadcast, is markedly different in tone. It's an altogether more uplifting listen, the bright morning sunlight after the sleepless dark nocturne of their début: gone are the lengthy near-ambient passages, replaced with a sparkling dream-pop aesthetic, a simpler and more chart-friendly sound. It's an impressive counter-point to the first release, and the closing of a chapter in their evolution. Thereafter their releases lacked consistency and a certain level of passion, a few stand-out tracks aside. Finally, in 2010, they announced an indefinite hiatus.
While Lost Souls is essential listening throughout, the tracks Firesuite, Break Me Gently, Sea Song, The Man Who Told Everything,
and particularly The Cedar Room
stand out. From The Last Broadcast I am partial to Words, Friday's Dust
, and Last Broadcast
. Beyond these two releases, I would recommend the driving beats of Darker
, an early B-side - additionally, One Of These Days
from 2005's Some Cities and Kingdom Of Rust
from the 2009 album of the same name are certainly worth checking out. The latter piece is not entirely remarkable in its own right, but when allied with the official video it becomes a much more powerful composition.
To listen to their music, simply click on the album covers to be taken to their respective pages. If you've any recommendations based on this artist, or wish to promote some music that you yourself enjoy, please do so in the comments. Maybe I'll end up enjoying something enough to feature it myself.