There was a Twit­ter account for Doves fans a few years called some­thing like @Dovespleasegettogetheragain (it’s no longer live, hav­ing suc­cess­ful­ly done its job). It was a place where the Doves-bereft could share their heart­break and hope­ful­ly jog the trio back into action. 

And lo, in 2019, it hap­pened – as Doves head­ed out to per­form a hand­ful of shows. The promised new mate­r­i­al start­ed with Carousel and on 9th July, the sec­ond sin­gle Pris­on­ers was released. The new album release was announced: The Uni­ver­sal Want, which drops on 11 Sep­tem­ber. “Hel­lo old friends” indeed – to slight­ly mis­quote lyrics from their lat­est track.

Doves at Bearded Theory
Doves head­lin­ing Beard­ed The­o­ry fes­ti­val, 2019

The lat­est sin­gle Pris­on­ers opens with a clas­sic Doves hazy, shim­mery intro. In his inter­view with Steve Lamacq, Jimi Good­win talks about this being their North­ern Soul dance­floor track but there’s a lot more going on. In com­mon with Carousel, the drums are a pri­mal force, infus­ing the num­ber with a dri­ving, propul­sive beat. 

Out of the smoke appears the first verse with Jimi Good­win’s voice on top form. There’s an angsty, search­ing, rest­less qual­i­ty to Pris­on­er both in instru­men­ta­tion and lyrics – a fore­bod­ing sense of rush­ing towards an inevitabil­i­ty. Some­thing about it recalls Wind­mills of Your Mind, both for its lyri­cal feel and also for a retro, 60s vibe. And if Doves ever get asked to do a Bond theme, this one would be it. ‘This is our last dance… What you want, can you give me a sign’ as Daniel Craig dodges bul­lets along a row of rooftops. 

Near­ing the song’s close, the instru­men­tal sec­tion takes you on an atmos­pher­ic trip with lush strings and retro guitars. 

Fes­ti­val No 6, 2014

It’s good to see Doves back in action although all three were involved in diverse projects dur­ing their hia­tus. Hav­ing recent­ly released Odludek, Jimi Good­win and co gave a fan­tas­tic per­for­mance at Fes­ti­val No 6 in Port­meiri­on back in 2014. They played on an inti­mate stage that looked out over the mag­nif­i­cent estu­ary, bathed in moon­light. Jimi sug­gest­ed we turn round and admire the view rather than look at the band. 

He also played as part of the Heav­en­ly Week­ender at The Trades in Heb­den Bridge in 2015 where he was warm­ly wel­comed by an enthu­si­as­tic crowd. Doves will be back at the next Heav­en­ly week­ender (cur­rent­ly on hold). Mean­while Jez and Andy Williams got on with their own sep­a­rate projects and col­lab­o­rat­ed on Black Rivers.

Anoth­er Doves relat­ed project took place at Blue­dot fes­ti­val in 2017. Rogue Emper­or, con­sist­ing of Doves’ unof­fi­cial mem­ber’ Mar­tin Rebel­s­ki, plus Richard Jupp (ex Elbow), Mike TV and Ollie Collins, played a mind­blow­ing set. This was the final per­for­mance of the fes­ti­val – and seem­ing­ly of the project too. Rogue Emper­or cre­at­ed dance music with a dreamy edge and amassed a good many fans dur­ing their brief existence.

After their come­back appear­ance for the Teenage Can­cer Trust there were sev­er­al fur­ther gigs and fes­ti­vals. Forth­com­ing shows will fea­ture new material.

Doves The Uni­ver­sal Want

Jimi Goodwin from Doves
Teenage Can­cer Trust 2019

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