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- Rock City, Nottingham »
Having been making music in one guise or another for over two decades now, many lesser artists would have slipped into their comfort zones by now. Not so for Doves. Indeed, their name could almost be cast as synonymous with "re-invention", such is their ideology that constant change is for the better, and anything less would be akin to mere stagnation.
What many observers, both critics and fans alike, weren't expecting was for their most recent album, last month's Kingdom Of Rust, to be possibly their most ambitious, forward-thinking collection of work to date. In what seems to be the year of musical re-invention, Doves have earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as the people like The Horrors, if only to prove those with pre-conceived misconceptions of the band - possibly engineered by logistical rather than musical associations - frivolous and mis-informed. If anything, their only motivation is that of a band constantly striving for perfection, hence the reason the current record took so long (not to mention several aborted attempts to make).
What is apparent with Doves current live show is the way the new songs glide almost effortlessly into the set with the minimum of fuss, as if they had always been there. 'Jetstream' could be their epitaph if they ever were to call it a day, its five minutes of sonic escapism flitting from atmospheric Eno trajectories into anthemic krautrock at the switch of a lyric, while 'Winter Hill' and 'The Outsiders' fuse acid house reared grooves and laid back reverb drenched rhythms with a sense of muted ambivalence that becomes even more apparent during the latter's us-against-the-world battle cry. Add to that 'Compulsion', which transforms the Spencer Davis Group's 'I'm A Man' into a 21st Century liturgy and you can see why many of these more recent compositions are undeniable highlights of the evening.
That's not to say that either band or audience give up on their older material. If anything, having such a diverse and intriguing back catalogue as the one Doves possess is what keeps the set so exciting. 'Snowden' literally brings the house down, opening the way for blissed-out older gems 'Rise' and 'Almost Forgot Myself' to also receive timely outings, not to mention the caustic sentimentality of 'Ambition'. Nevertheless, as with any artists fortunate enough to enjoy a whiff of commercial success, it's "the hits" that receive the warmest reception, and a rousing 'Black And White Town' and penultimate encore of'There Goes The Fear' seem to justify at least half the sold-out venue's reasons for being here.
Which is a shame, because many of them have already made their way out before the pulsating excesses of 'Spaceface', dedicated to the "Nottingham ravers", brings this evening's curtain down in euphoric fashion.
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