Ken Course is the founder of The Silence Noise, an alternative electro-rock project based in Northern Nevada. Find his new EP, The Twist Of A Friendly Knife, along with all of his music on all streaming music services. Here he shares his excitement about a band on the cusp of a most welcome return with a splendid new album. Doves.
There are few bands that could adequately be christened with such an elegant title as the “music of memories,” but Doves holds that place in all of its elegant, longing, and wistful sincerity.
The music of Doves exists in a place that few bands dare to dwell, at the crossroads between past and future marked by the gray skies of winter, run down old towns, or roads that somehow seem endless. It captures both the hope and hopelessness of what’s to come marked by the doubt and cynicism that accompany the realities of life.
From a technical and production perspective, there are few bands that have been able to accomplish what Doves has in their sonic profile. Doves seem to defy genre, incorporating a wide variety of influences and elements ranging from psychedelic 70s rock to moody electronica to soaring pop hooks. They even cross these wires deftly within the structure of single songs, such as the evocative 10:03 from their most recent album, Kingdom of Rust.
Venture into the self-reflective clouds of The Storm, journey through time and space on a lost midnight highway with Firesuite, or slip easily into the comfortable and soothing pop of Caught By The River. All of these moods still somehow fit perfectly within a diverse landscape of their catalog.
When you ask those who have experienced any of these songs or albums, the first commentary you will usually hear is “mood” or “atmosphere.” Doves create music that inspires you to remember, as joyful or painful as that may be in the moment. Though their melodies and musical skill are as memorable as any other modern act, Doves create on a tapestry that is lush with the texture of dreams and memories. The atmosphere isn’t something that just “exists” to support the song, but instead it seems as if the atmosphere is created first and the song then written within.
As so few bands accomplish today, Doves maintain an immediately identifiable fingerprint across albums but still manage to bring something unique and interesting to each release. Simultaneously limited within their signature sounds and melodies, but limitless in scope, they venture between different focuses in each presentation. Lost Souls represents a type of dreamy, introverted take on existence. The Last Broadcast reflects a marked uptick in energy, with more 60s and 70s inspired rock finding its way into the fold. Some Cities combines both of these notes into a moody and manic fabric. Kingdom of Rust incorporates a variety of downtempo electronica and space rock touches.
No two works are the same, yet all reside in the same melancholy home.
As with most music discovery these days, I first heard Doves on a related artists playlist. That first song, the hypnotic One of These Days, may still be my personal favorite from their discography. Dancing between the feeling of drifting in space and the harsh realities of life, death, and loss. I was fortunate enough to see them live on a US tour in the late 2000s and they were a big surprise. For a band that has so much material that would seem “mellow” or “downtrodden,” their show was an epic experience that packed in psychedelic visuals, bursts of big energy, and the familiar feelings that one would expect from listening to their catalog.
With their new single Cathedrals of the Mind from their upcoming release The Universal Want, Doves seems to have retained much of the electronic flair from Kingdom of Rust, with a more mature, refined pop take. Imagine if Coldplay was put in a time machine to the 70s and sent back to spend some time with Rick Wakeman. This is Doves again revealing their competent pop sensibilities in the same reverb-infused home where we’ve always found them. It is a relaxing, familiar journey yet surprisingly optimistic in tone (but not lyric) compared to their previous singles.
After all these years, Doves still want to take us on a journey. I, for one, am ready to go into whatever depths of memory and life that they have in store.
Our massive thanks to Ken for his insightful words.
Listen to Sweet Punishment from The Silence Noise’s The Twist Of A Friendly Knife EP here:
Read more from the Why I Love archive, here.