Doves Lost Souls

With all the praise heaped upon this debut CD in their native England - including the prestigious Mercury prize - Doves reek of the instant fame, flavour of the week that is typical of the UK music scene. The story behind the scenes, though, proves this judgement to be unfair. Formed in ten years ago in Manchester at the height of the acid house craze by twins Andy and Jez Williams and their school pal Jimi Goodwin, they were originally a "dance" act known as Sub Sub. They earned modest success under this moniker, until a studio fire destroyed all their equipment and master tapes. Having always wanted to be in a "proper" band, the trio decided to pick up guitars and Doves were born. Lost Souls collects their outstanding early singles "The Cedar Room," "Sea Song" and "Here It Comes" with newer material, all of which is shockingly good for a band that was more accustomed to using turntables and keyboards. Like other recent UK exports Coldplay, Doves' music is more subtle, introspective and hauntingly beautiful. The songs on Lost Souls take their time, weaving the listener in and out of various sounds, rooted in catchy, moody melodies that work extremely well. Methinks they have spent some time listening to late era Talk Talk, as the slow build-up and varied instrumentation are put to good use here. Showing an incredible amount of songwriting maturity, Doves' music is wonderfully textured. The closest they get to a standard rock track is the superb Swervedriver-esque "Catch the Sun," which also stands out as the lone track cut with producer Steve Osborne - the band produced the rest themselves. Although not exactly a new CD, Lost Souls can now be found without the nasty import price tag, thanks to a North American release through Astralwerks. Splendid stuff. (EMI)