Kingdom Of Rust by Doves is by most bands standards a very good album. So why after repeated listens does it leave us with a slight sense of disappointment ? We suspect it is because after four years away it doesn’t feel that there is that many years of evolution in this record. There’s a warm safe familiarity with Kingdom Of Rust, no matter how good some of the songs are. It feels like Doves being Doves and no more.
Recorded on a Cheshire farm, Kingdom Of Rust is an album created from a musical geography and landscape of big widescreen melancholy anthems. Opening song Jetstream is a fine example of a band doing what they do incredibly well. All pulsing synths and throbbing bass it is sonically adventurous and vast. Elsewhere 10.03 starts with a spaghetti western bassline before the song becomes a firework display for the ears, with exploding distorted riffs. But despite these carefully crafted songs, tracks such as Winter Hill and Spellbound could have come from any other Doves album. Part of the problem is the vocals. Jimi Goodwin has a distinctive voice that is both sad and sweet in equal measures, but the lack of variation of his mournful tone seems just a little too over familiar after four albums.
Unfortunately when the band do take musical risks and step out of the box significantly the results are not particularly good. Compulsion is one such example. An experimental and certainly brave funk meets reggae work out, the song mixes elements of Blondie and The Clash circa Sandinista. The outcome of this doesn’t really gel, jarring with the tone of the rest of the album.
Kingdom Of Rust has received significant critical acclaim, and there is no doubt that it is immaculately produced and will please many fans. But for Breaking More Waves we just wish there were more songs that surprised us.