DOVES – Kingdom of Rust (2009)

Doves - Kingdom of Rust Doves are often unfairly lumped into the mild-mannered company of Keane and Coldplay – bands who, too often, define their sensibilities around a reliably successful (but ultimately bland) tapestry of amiable inoffensiveness. Yes, Coldplay did make some strides last year with Viva La Vida (Brian Eno produced it, so there had to be something good about it), but they were still outdone by Ours’ Mercy, a darker album that lured you into its murkiness by way of Jimmy Gnecco’s entrancing and powerful voice, a voice that puts Chris Martin to shame (it also featured involvement from another legendary producer: His Beardness, Rick Rubin). But I digress. Doves have proven from the beginning that, beneath their seemingly harmless exterior, there is, in fact, something to their music (a point which their contemporaries insist on continually refuting in their own musical efforts). I mean, seriously: can you picture Ambition on Keane’s Under The Iron Sea? I sure can’t.

Doves’ newest album, Kingdom of Rust (their first album in four years), picks up pretty much where Some Cities left off; while that approach is arguably the least creative, it’s a tried-and-true method, and it works here. A song (Jetstream) gradually emerges from a steadfast piano, repeating a single note with great intensity; it’s a constantly cresting song, and towards the end, it becomes a curious mixture of electro-flurries and pointed, focused rock. It’d be awesome if the band had managed to maintain that style for an entire album, but alas, it never really surfaces on any other song for any considerable amount of time. Disappointing though that may be, Kingdom of Rust is certainly not without its merits; it’s an album that’s got some serious musical drive behind in it, and when the band are constantly pushing themselves forward, the results are excellent (like on the title track, Spellbound, and the Junior-Boys-esque Compulsion).

Doves aren’t likely to dethrone Coldplay anytime soon, and I’m fine with that. Everything has to have its place, after all, and for Coldplay, that translates to ruling the airwaves with commanding mediocrity. As for Doves’ Kingdom of Rust, if you’re into Coldplay (or any of the many bands that do the Coldplay thing better than Coldplay, like Leaves), you’d probably enjoy this (and chances are high that even if you don’t, you still just might). Who knows? When it’s done, maybe you’ll find out that you have a pulse after all.

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One Response to “DOVES – Kingdom of Rust (2009)”

  1. keleighwolf Says:

    I was going to do the “Do do do do” thing, and then realized you’d never recognize it via teh interwebs as the Jeopardy theme… I trust you have your reasons. Or I am thinking of the wrong review.

    P.S. Yes, I agree with this DOVES have been a semi-staple of mine since 2005.

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