Doves - Some Cities
Manchester's Doves have spent the past half-decade establishing themselves at the forefront of 21st century British dream pop, and while they haven't completely abandoned their spaced-out sound, Some Cities is a refreshingly guitar-driven voyage. The slow burn of the album's title track is the perfect opener to get things fully ramped up for what follows. Sure, "Black & White Town" is a copy-paste of the backbeat to the Martha Reeves classic "Heatwave," but fuzzy licks and Jimi Goodwin's velvety voice add more layers of texture to the groove than all the layers of Aqua Net needed to support those towering Vandella bee hives.
A few selected moments of trippiness can still be found on Some Cities, both in the swirling notes of "Almost Forgot Myself" and the chill Zero 7 vibe found on "The Storm," which is highlighted by an incredibly ethereal harmonica solo. I can't get enough of "Snowden," though it may be due to my adolescent obsession with Star Trek, because it sure sounds like the lead vocalist from that show's theme song makes a triumphant guest appearance on this track. And while it's nice to be whisked away to a planet where Denny Crane makes out with lizard women, there's also some heady stuff to be found here. Perhaps the most potent song on Some Cities is "Walk in Fire," which is a brutally direct five-and-a-half minute intervention, driven by such pointed interrogatives as, "Is there nothing you'd not do With a drink in you?" Drunk or not, even if it takes more than 12 steps to get to your local record store, you need to drown yourself in this intoxicating record.