Doves - Manchester Academy - 3.5.02

Just two days later Doves are expected to go straight to the top with their second album "The Last Broadcast", but it seems as if the band have more important issues on their mind. Introducing "Words", a song which features the classic line "Words they mean nothing, so you can't hurt me", Jimi Goodwin refers to last nights victory by the BNP in Burnley with the simple but straight to the point "Racism - we never needed that shit and we don't need it now". Its the first time the band have really stepped out from beneath the music, raised their heads above the parapet and actually commented on the bigger picture. But you must remember that this is Doves MkII - regenerated and refreshed with a new open outlook that has resulted in one of the most uplifting melancholic records since Morrissey hung around the Salford Lads Club.

With this new found direction and vision comes an almost distinctive Northern confidence brewing under an almost serene calmness...and without a care in the world they deliver the double whammy of "Pounding" and "There Goes The Fear" within the first ten minutes. The latter, the bands biggest hit to date and instantly recognizable from the intricate melody and complete with full on percussive mantra which takes us to an ecstatic high. For the first time in half a decade we truly have a Manchester band which can take on the world rather than wimpishly deliver new man sensitive bollocks to half a dozen bedsit depressives.

"Satellites", even when stripped of the gospel choir, is destined to be sung on the terraces and come two months time when the band support New Order at Old Trafford you get the feeling that a choir would simply be lost in a sea of voices anyway. It the more obscure influences that shine though at times when stripped of the high class scene of the layered recordings. Elvis Costello looms like a shadow in the background over Jimi Goodwins vocal technique, while the almost cinematic layered trademark sound harks back to the likes overblown prog rock bands.

Doves are a band who can take you through a rollercoaster of emotion and still leave you satisfied at the end of their journey. Its been a long time coming, but finally Manchester has a band that avoids the scally clichés and still retains that sense of commercial rock sensibility. Now with a number 1 album behind them it seems like finally the world is prepared to listen.

Alex McCann

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