Gig review: Doves


ALONG with Elbow, Doves are the nice, dependable guys of slightly grizzled thirtysomething British indie – a bashful bunch who would never blow their own trumpet and, unlike Elbow, don't have anyone stepping up to blow it for them. Yet their popularity is not in question. Just last week, they lost out on their third consecutive No 1 album – by a mere six copies – and there was no shortage of fans eager to lap up their vaguely anthemic, mid-paced indie offerings here.

However, those glacial anthems started to sound tired and samey very quickly. The trio's lack of natural charisma or showmanship did not help, but there was also very little dynamism, power or variety in the set, apart from occasional pockets of interest such as the outlaw country flavour of new track Kingdom Of Rust.

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Inevitably, it came down to the airing of a handful of old favourites to relieve the monotony. The appropriately named Pounding caused euphoria in the crowd, as did Black And White Town, propelled along by its infectious rhythm, shamelessly borrowed from Martha & the Vandellas' Heatwave.

But Doves have still never bettered the compelling chord changes and aching melody of Here It Comes from their debut album Lost Souls – accompanied here by immortal archive clips of the northern soul all-nighters in the 70s. As is customary, frontman Jimi Goodwin and drummer Andy Williams swapped places, prompting the conclusion that they should get out of their comfort zones more often if they want to avoid the trough of indie mediocrity.

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