Doves, Some Cities (Capitol, 2005)
The Doves are one of these Brit-pop groups that aren't Coldplay. Where as the fellow from Coldplay is married to Gwyneth Paltrow, the lead singer from this group actually had a baby by a women who was hostessing at a Red Lobster. It's cool though because if they go on Sundays before 3PM, they actually get 20% off of their meal. Motherfuck going to church (Happy Easter everyone): Cheap seafood is cheap seafood. Supposedly, their last album was pretty good, but I guess the single from it never took off and so they remain more or less unheard of in the States. Not unlike myself (more on this later), they're actually pretty big time in Europe.
I like how the album begins with stomping drums and ringing guitars not unlike something U2 might have done back in their Strident Mulleted Irishmen days. If the guy that they've got singing lead actually had a decent voice, this group might have something. As it is, the instrumental portions basically carry these songs.
BLACK AND WHITE TOWN
What an obvious fucking rip-off of "Heatwave" by Martha and the Vandellas, or whoever. Not that I'm hating or anything - this was actually the song that made me want to check out this album. I only wish more of the songs on here rocked out like this.
ALMOST FORGOT MYSELF
This group's lead singer (I'd look it up, but I don't really care) really doesn't have the voice to pull off this kind of song (like something from the second Coldplay album). Which is a shame, really, because it sounds ike it would've been a pretty good song. The bass part, in particular, is pretty snazzy.
As much as I like the first few songs on here, none of them are really "hits." They work well enough within the context of an album, but, outside of maybe "Black and White Town," I don't know how much of this I would want to listen to just for the sake of listening to it.
One of the main things Doves does have going for them, at least as far as this album is concerned, is an overall sense of atmosphere. Even the more rollicking numbers on here are coated in a thick layer of whiny Britishness.
WALK IN FIRE
The thing about it though is that this album's particular atmosphere begins to work against it during the more boring stretches. The effect works well enough as long as the songs are still pretty good, but once that quality starts to dip, weak songwriting + whiny Britishness = Why am I listening to this?
ONE OF THESE DAYS
Case in point, I don't particularly care to hear this song again. While it does happen to be more uptempo than the last few numbers on here, and I usually like the fast ones, this one's just not that good. And I'm sure the added whiny Britishness didn't help matters either.
This one is better just because it switches up styles at a point when the album had already started to drag. It's not particularly great or anything, and the way that the music drops out during the chorus is kinda silly, but otherwise it's a decent "second half of the album" song.
SHADOWS OF SALFORD
This is just weird and unnecessary. If they had to have it on here, they should've made it shorter. I guess it is shorter (2:45) than most of the songs on here, but these songs are pretty long.
SKY STARTS FALLING
And here's the album's requisite "song from the second half that I like enough that I don't bother turning this motherfucker off about 6 tracks in." It's starts off kinda Strokes-y, if you can imagine, and then builds into a pretty rawkus crescendo.
Even if I was going to listen to the album all the way up through "Sky Starts Falling," I'd probably just turn it off after that.
COMMENTS: This Brit-pop shit really isn't my beat to begin with, but I think I'm well-enough versed in it to critique it, and this alburm really didn't do too much for me at all. I can appreciate where they were trying to go with it, but, truthfully, I don't think they really had the amount of talent necessary to pull it off. In general, a man with a voice like this fellow's should be singing a lot more songs like "Black and White Town" and a lot less songs like "Ambiton."
BEST TRACKS: "Some Cities" "Black and White Town"