"Lost Souls" (2000) by Doves

I heard about this group, um, about three days ago when a friend gave me this record amongst 50 gigabytes of other music while we were sharing (don’t sue). I added it to my 80 other records that I had to listen to to make a credible best-records-of-the-decade list, however I admit that I wasn’t really expecting much.

The first track really impressed me. My friend had tagged the record as ‘indie rock’, so I was expecting a Strokes-esque rocking record. I was completely wrong. Lost Souls is full of lush, string filled ornamentation and thick textures. The opener blew my brain from my skull, not because it was amazing, but because I was totally not expecting it.

The album continues in this vein. The songs seem to be more centered around the instruments than the vocals, but the vocals still play a major part in the work as a whole. The record is really one that has to be repeatedly listened to as a whole to be fully appreciated – it has that ‘epic’ album quality that records by other bands such as Radiohead and Eels possess.

The vocalist’s voice is perfect for this music. He sings powerfully and sounds slightly depressed, adding a melancholy element to the music. In addition, it’s very rare to find a record with no filler, but this one pulls it off near-perfect.

As a record by a British band that originated in the 90’s, critics were quick to lump Doves in with the Radiohead +imitators group – such as Travis, Coldplay, etc. Listening to Lost Souls, however, it is hard to see how they can be compared with such bands. Lacking is the angst and edginess contained in Radiohead’s first three records (the ‘rock’ era); instead, it is full of lush instrumental sections and clean, crisp sounds.

Original, underappreciated, lush to the point of nearly shoegaze-y, and well worth a listen.

Choice tracks: Firesuite, Sea Song, The Man Who Told Everything, A House


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