In 2002, New York's Interpol and England's Doves each made a valiant effort at releasing the year's best homage to Joy Division: Both Turn on the Bright Lights and The Last Broadcast took gloomy doom-rock atmospherics, gray-sky guitars, and deep-baritone emoting as far as possible without actually covering "Love Will Tear Us Apart."
So last September, Interpol pulled out all the stops for Antics, a splendiferous opening up of its sound, whose melodic assertiveness and big-time sonics left no room for the same tired comparisons.
On their third album, Some Cities, Doves pull off a similar trick, adding enough nuance to their spaced-out guitar rock that you don't have time to think about the band's Manchester forebears before the trance-inducing drumbeat of the opening title track sweeps you up into its bright-lights grandeur. Doves are great at making their songs sound bigger than they are: Singer Jimi Goodwin motors "Almost Forgot Myself" with a killer Motown bass line that gives shape to guitarist Jez Williams' fuzzy meandering; the tinny piano figure in "Black and White Town" (a relic, perhaps, from Doves' early days as the dance outfit Sub Sub) underpins Goodwin's swooping vocal line with the pounding exuberance of a classic house track. A fine refining.
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