Album #244: Doves – The Universal Want

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Manchester, England
  • Label: EMI/Heavenly
  • Best Track: Carousel

Doves are one of those bands that I just “quite like”. If they were playing at a festival I was at I might watch them. If they were on Later… With Jools Holland I might switch it on. And if they brought out their first album in 11 years I might listen to it.

In truth I don’t know much of their stuff beyond 2002’s The Last Broadcast, and my experience of the band’s fifth and comeback album The Universal Want perhaps highlights the problem when you pick up an album from a band you casually follow and expect it to sound like the handful of songs you know by them.

There’s nothing on here with the mesmeric twinkling of ‘There Goes the Fear’, nor the, well, pounding drums of ‘Pounding’.

That’s not to say I don’t like it though. Tracks like ‘Carousel’ and ‘Cathedrals of the Mind’ are the earworms of the album, while ‘Prisoners’ and ‘Forest House’ usher in some darkness and melancholy befitting of these troubling times.

The album doesn’t always hold my attention, but that probably says more about my attention span than anything. And as always, Jez Williams’ vocals are strong and moving.

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