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.
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. However just as you’re utterly lost in its depths it comes to a halt. Less dramatically so than War on Drugs An Ocean in between the Waves but it nevertheless hauls you out of your reverie. Here’s hoping the album features an extended version of this track which has a chameleon-like ability to work a different form of magic on each listen.
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 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 on 12th December (tickets currently sold out). Meanwhile Jez and Andy Williams got on with their own separate projects and collaborated on the more electronic 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 – they amassed a good many fans during their brief existence and if they could reform, the world would be a better place.
After their comeback appearance for the Teenage Cancer Trust there were several further gigs and festivals. Forthcoming shows will be much anticipated with the new material to be played live for the first time.
Doves The Universal Want