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Doves

The Universal Want

    In a tumultuous 2020, the re-emergence of Doves with new music has provided a shaft of light in an otherwise brooding sky, finally landing their fifth album, The Universal Want, after an eleven-year artistic break.

    The equally ecstatic and relieved response from fans and critics to the first track to emerge, Carousels, during the final, confusing throws of the UK and Europe’s strict COVID-19 lockdown in June, proved how desperately their idiosyncratic sense of euphoric melancholy was, and is, needed. Catching many off-guard, Doves unleashed a track of unfathomable depth, unfurling rich and unpredictable pockets of sound, twisted round a sample of the great Tony Allen at his very best.

    “This place is wild at heart and weird on top, you just couldn’t make it up,” said Jimi Goodwin, surveying the world through his window while a global pandemic was taking root in late-March 2020. Paraphrasing Laura Dern’s character, Lula Pace Fortune in the 1990, David Lynch film Wild At Heart, Goodwin hits on the Lynchian-obsessions shared by all three Doves. Himself, Andy (drums/vocals) and Jez Williams (guitars/programming/vocals) would often find themselves hosting impromptu post-rave, home screenings in the early 1990s.

    By quoting the film, the lead singer and bassist of the twice Mercury-nominated band also, accidentally, expresses what everyone else was feeling at the time of disorientation, fear and hope. Doves have a longstanding habit of doing just that.

    First emerging in 1998 with the release of their debut, vinyl-only Cedar EP, Doves’ first album, Lost Souls (2000), received both press and award-panel praise, before Number One follow-up, The Last Broadcast (2002) provided the trio with a major breakthrough, offering with the hit singles, There Goes The Fear and Pounding. Straight-to-Number One follow up, Some Cities (2005) and the difficult birth of the much-loved Kingdom of Rust (2009) appeared to complete a perfect legacy if the hiatus the band called in 2010 lasted longer than anyone hoped. It certainly lasted longer than the band had expected. “It’s bizarre how quickly life just passes,” says Goodwin, reflecting on the years that turned into a decade.

    The story of The Universal Want, the title itself and other tracks such as Prisoners giving an impression of the band’s disdain towards the consumerist illusion, starts in a rented house in England’s Peak District during secret, unintended writing sessions in 2017. Joining the dots, band historians note that it came a full year before announcing their live return and 18 months before they appeared together publicly. That they were a creative force once more was a near impossible secret to keep, as they worked between studios in the North West and the Midlands.

    Andy Williams describes the excitement of the sessions, saying: “There were times when we felt an indescribable buzz. It was a breeze compared to ‘Kingdom Of Rust’, with one of the nicest things being just hanging out. We were never that far apart; I’d call Jimi every month. We’re too closely tied to have lost contact; I’d miss them.”

    Refusing once more to fall into predictable, guitar-bass-drums, ‘plug in and play’ dynamics, The Universal Want’s overwhelming sense of intrigue owes everything to Doves’ three decades experience at the wheel of their band (a lifespan going back to their time as dance band, Sub Sub), and an autobiographical trip through the sounds of their own lives. From seaside amusements (Carousels) and the remembered heat of acid house (Universal Want) to the aimless summer days of youth (Forest House), each song sets a new reel running to show fragments of their lives and, in turn, those of their listeners. Shadows of Bowie, rare 70’s soul, Detroit House and Afrobeat are cast subtly across the shapeshifting album.

    Cycle Of Hurt’s, disembodied mantra of ‘it’s a trap’, finds the band once more concerned with finding freedom in a cynical, aspirational age. A band that respects creativity itself, allowing the process to meander, it wasn’t, and isn’t their intention to write a manifesto rallying against vapid consumer culture. “When it comes to themes,” says Jez “we always find a very collaborative way forward. It’s all quite subconscious. It’s only when you look back that you can see the threads linking the songs.” 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: It's been plenty long enough since a new Doves album, and this one hits all of the high notes we'd expect. Superb melodies, brilliant songwriting and a crystal clear narrative throughout. It's a brilliant return after eleven years, and one we've been sorely needing.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Carousels
    2. I Will Not Hide
    3. Broken Eyes
    4. For Tomorrow
    5. Cathedrals Of The Mind
    6. Prisoners
    7. Cycle Of Hurt
    8. Mother Silver Lake
    9. Universal Want
    10. Forest House

    Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott

    Manchester Calling

      ‘Manchester Calling’ boasts all the hallmarks of Heaton’s beautifully bittersweet songwriting – effortlessly catchy melodies allied with an everyman’s biting exasperation at the modern world alongside some truly heartfelt love songs. Produced by long time collaborator John Williams who produced both Housemartins albums and the previous three Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott albums - ‘What Have We Become’ (’14), ‘Wisdom, Laughter & Lines’ (’15), and ‘Crooked Calypso’ (’17) - the record was recorded at Blueprint Studios in Salford, Manchester. As is Paul Heaton’s habit the lyrics were written in various locations in North Holland and Belgium while the music was composed in a hotel in Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria and in Limburg An Der Lahn in Germany.

      Says Paul: “I've lived in Manchester for 17 years now and recording an album here for the first time, was looking forward to cycling to work. That was never possible as Manchester is now being turned into a business centre for the rich, which I can't stand. If there's a theme to the record, it's anti growth, anti greed, against the continuous tearing down of old buildings and sticking up soulless offices, and the disappearance of local accents on TV, along with the creeping spread of Americanese. So, some curmudgeonly moans, plus some hopefully uplifting love songs. Originally it was set up to be a double LP like 'London Calling' but alas the double album has also become a victim of time."

      Says Jacqui: “I’m so pleased and excited about the new album, it was wonderful to work on new songs and even more so that we did double what we have done for the last few records. It’ll be a joy to see others react to something we took such pleasure out of making.”

      GRAMMY® Award-nominated multiplatinum artist, fashion disruptor, “King of Teens” Teenage Emotions merges Lil Yachty’s signature gleeful sing-rap and auto-tuned transmissions with hip hop bombast, pop and eighties cultural touchstones. The 19-year-old Atlanta native is proudly genre-defying, mining hip-hop, alternative, indie sounds as well as his hometown Atlanta trap DNA to solidify his mosaic approach. The 21-track album includes features from Migos, Diplo, YG and UK rapper Stefflon Don. As the title indicates, the set is a reflection of young lives right now, from happiness to social media-saturated heartbreak to the dancefloor, caught in a sound that effortlessly, constantly bounces from rap to pop to something entirely its own. Personally the nineteen-year-old strives to promote positivity and good vibes. “It caters to a teenager’s everyday lifestyle-heartbreak, happiness, that vibe when you waking up in the morning getting dressed and you just wanna dance,” says Lil Yachty.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: It makes me feel like i'm 19 man, you know, like Instagram and Snapchat and all that, when I was a lad you used payphones [cue talk about using payphones between staff].

      TRACK LISTING

      1 Like A Star [Explicit]
      2 DN Freestyle [Explicit]
      3 Peek A Boo [feat. Migos] [Explicit]
      4 Dirty Mouth [Explicit]
      5 Harley [Explicit]
      6 All Around Me [feat. YG & Kamaiyah] [Explicit]
      7 Say My Name [Explicit]
      8 All You Had To Say [Explicit]
      9 Better [feat. Stefflon Don]
      10 Forever Young [feat. Diplo] [Explicit]
      11 Lady In Yellow [Explicit]
      12 Moments In Time [Explicit]
      13 Otha Shit [Explicit]
      14 X Men [feat. Evander Griiim] [Explicit]
      15 Bring It Back [Explicit]
      16 Running With A Ghost [feat. Grace] [Explicit]
      17 FYI (Know Now) [Explicit]
      18 Priorities [Explicit]
      19 No More [Explicit]
      20 Made Of Glass
      21 Momma [feat. Sonyae Elise] [Explicit]

      Trick arrives after a gap of less than two years shot through with the kind of vigour and vibrancy that can only come from a man who’s rediscovered his love of writing, recording and performing. Spearheaded by lead single ‘Tinfoil Boy’, the track was Annie Mac’s Hottest Record and has since been added to Radio 1, 6 Music and Radio X. Recorded in London and Detroit, Michigan, Trick features co-production and all instruments played by Jamie and long-time creative partner James Dring and is the kind of brave and eclectic rock/punk/reggae/rap/pop celebration that only Jamie T could make.

      Inspired by claustrophobic London Summers, the album is a proud, punchy summing-up of all Jamie’s unique signatures – Clash-like anthems, youthful reminiscence, high-speed raps, earworm choruses and snarky humour. It follows the triumphant success of 2014’s comeback album Carry On The Grudge.


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