the most daring album of Doves' career to date...
Jamie Milton

10:03 31st March 2009

Doves have been made for the big-time ever since they started writing their second album, 'The Last Broadcast'. But alas, the closest they've come to headlining any such setting has been on support slots with U2. So you can't say they've had a hard life, but all the same, they deserve more. And the most annoying thing is, most people know it. This expectation to reach a bigger stage might finally erupt into something you can touch, this time round. 'Kingdom of Rust' is this year's answer to 'The Seldom Seen Kid', the final step Jimi Goodwin and co. have to take before finally receiving their riches. Come on, you can't say that you didn't expect Gigwise to give you an Elbow comparison, did you?! In all seriousness, it's uncanny how similar the two band's careers are: Manchester-bred, criminally underrated etc. Here, Doves look set to follow a new trend that Elbow led this time last year: commercial success.

The record begins punchy with 'Jetstream' and the more firey 'The Outsiders' and this never seems like stopping. But gradually you become accustomed to the sound of Goodwin and co. exploring new methods of churning out delightful alt-rock affairs. The electronic tint that shines from the very opening with "Jetstream' is never re-discovered, merely highlighting Doves up-most efforts to create something more diverse than the rest of their discography. There are still times where you get treated to the Doves of old: 'Kingdom Of Rust' and 'Spellbound' never feel like they're going to end and you yourself hardly feel the need to save them the hassle. The latter in particular, hints at a Doves-circa-2001, fresh from their Sub Sub days, writing some of the more beautiful, melancholic songs of their career. Acoustic at its heart, remaining pretty much the only track on the record not to divert into something edgier at its climax, it's a stand-out.

Truthfully, this album could have remained close to the band's roots such as it does in 'Spellbound' and still been hailed as a triumph. But credit to the band, they spent a good 3 and a half years working at something they could declare as 'fresh' and almost incomparable. They escape from tradition most notably in 'Compulsion', a complete misfit with the rest of the songs, funk-led and not embarrassed of it. Only 'Birds Flew Backwards' is a slight dent in the flawless output of the record up to a point, featuring what is known in India as a delruba, which nearly distracts you from in inferiority of the song in comparison to magnificence of the rest of the album.

But for much of the time, the results of 40-demoed-songs, 3 and a half years of work are as rewarding as Goodwin and the Williams' could have hoped for. '10:03' re-visits the gentle yet near overwhelming beauty of 'M62 Song'. ''The Greatest Denier' and closer 'Lifelines', although easily-dismissible as the kind of radio-friendly mockery the likes of Snow Patrol, among others deliver, are both the absolute highlights of a thrilling excavation into electronic rock. Although it might not come to light, 'Kingdom Of Rust' is the most daring album of Doves' career to date, one so backbreaking to work on that the final results are startling enough for us to hail the record as perhaps the band's best.

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