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Third studio album from the ambitious brit-rock band is more of the same: big choruses, slightly off-kilter sonics, and gruff vocals. Doves' frontman Jimi Goodwin can't sing. His voice, often derided for its slovenliness and liberality with pitch, lends the Manchester trio's songs a coarseness for which they're left to compensate, or not, with more adventurous instrumentals. The band's previous albums, Lost Souls and The Last Broadcast , generally managed to cover the difference, but at times sounded like Doves were trying too hard to be something they're not: Both albums featured their share of anthemic hooks, but it seemed as if the band were struggling to turn in something as aseptically beatific-- and as popular-- as fellow Brit-rock bands such as Coldplay and Travis. In the three years since Last Broadcast , Doves have cultivated a better understanding of their strengths and limitations, and Some Cities beams with a revivified looseness.
Some Cities is a turbo charged, sonorous assault; at points crunching and urban, sounding like a midnight high-speed joy ride through the industrial beating heart of their hometown city Manchester. The album, Some Cities could only ever have been born in the North of England and is the sound of a full throttle, Doves band. It's also the sound of the band at their most relaxed and confident, their most driven and fine-tuned. In the three years between this album and its epic-scaled predecessor, The Last Broadcast , Manchester trio Doves were obviously doing something more artistically rewarding than mere touring. It's not that their sense of ambitious scale has waned. It's that it has been refocused inward here toward personal matters and the state of their Northern UK homeland.