Doves – Kingdom of Rust (2009)

We’ve been away from the desk awhile, lets dust this thing off…

I’ve been meaning to post Kingdom of Rust as an Album of the Week for a wee while now. For me, this is still their ‘new’ album, despite it being released over three years ago now. It definately fell into that category where I left it shelved indefinately, too afraid to listen and find one of my favourite bands had finally released a dud. O me of little faith. With a little rev up from a compilation sent to me by T at the Melbourne desk that featured the title track, I  unwrapped the figurative cellophane on Rust to great satisfaction and not a little relief.

There was however, the stumbling block of the opener Jetstream, the black sheep of the album that sounds like Doves trying to fix something that wasn’t broken, adding a song that sounded deliberately outside of their repertoire as though they needed to prove versatility. Instead it comes off as a badly placed B-side, a hashed Brit-core bedroom recording dance track that for some reason everyone in the UK thinks they can do and everyone wants to hear. Perhaps this was what kept me at arms length for so long…

Very fortunately, they immediately flip the switch from Poos to Doves and the eponymous track two sounds like the album proper begins here. Further in, thrumming Winter Hill is replete with all the Doves trappings, sophisticated but satisfying, not elusive but not expected either. The Greatest Denier is classic Doves, with relentless builds exploding into chorus. Dreamy Birds Flew Backwards provides hiatus before Spellbound steps in as though Lost Souls was the next room. Compulsion achieves what Jetstream failed to do before the album crests with the stomping House of Mirrors and then blasts into the heavens on Lifelines. This crescendo reflects a record as a whole that defies any accusations of shoe-gazery that might typically be levelled at the band.

As with every release by Doves, I chomp my old man pipe, stare out of a squinted eye and grizzle to no-one in particular that “its no Lost Souls,” but nothing really ever will be, and on its own merits, this is a damn fine record.


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