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The Last Broadcast

The Last Broadcast

The Doves are the Rodney Dangerfield ("I get no respect!") of British rock music. While that's a pretty damn cliche'd statement to make, I'm one of those people who believes that it's unfortunately kind of true. Sure, they always get fairly good reviews, and I'm sure that their sales in the UK are the bulk of where they're selling records, but compared to critical and commercial darlings like Coldplay and even Travis, they don't get near as much press as they should.

While I enjoyed their debut album of Lost Souls, it was a slightly more dreary affair that I had to be in just the right sort of mood to enjoy and soak up fully. The Last Broadcast not only finds the group opening up themselves for a slightly lighter (and downright happier) feel, but truly expanding on their sound as well. They've honed their hooks as well, and while there were several tracks on their debut that had me nodding my head (including the flat-out rock of "Darker"), they consistently have me singing along on this newest effort (and the release easily has some of their best songs to date).

On the aptly titled "Intro," the group simply builds on some synth washes and pretty noises in leading into the disc, and it's a wise decision, as "Words" starts the disc off proper with the slightly more buoyant sound that I mentioned above. The guitars chime out brightly and the vocals that seemed so "woe is me" most of the time on Lost Souls are downright upbeat. I, for one, wouldn't have thought the group would lead off with a summer singalong, but that's just what it is. "There Goes The Fear" follows right on its heels with a distorted, gritty guitar melody that is coupled with some damn perky percussion and a mimicing chime sound that provide a nice backdrop for vocals that are again on the uplifting side.

After the lush opening tracks, the stripped-down feel of "M62 Song" is a welcome break, and the acoustic guitar and multi-part vocals provide a calmdown. From there, the group again opts for a short, interlude track of ambience before again busting loose with what is probably their most rocking track ever in "N.Y." As if the city hadn't already had enough odes written to it, the trio toss their hat in the ring with some blistering guitar riffs and pummeling drums that smash in alongside swirling synths. Juxtaposed with quiet verses of acoustic guitar and subtle percussion, the huge choruses absolutely thunder.

The remainder of the album is fairly solid as well, although the slight gospel infusion of "Satellites" drags a bit at nearly 7 minutes long. Three of the closing four tracks are absolute gems, though. "Pounding" takes itself literally and the group turn in a foot-stomping track that's amazingly effervescent, while the album-titled "The Last Broadcast" is a twinkling bedtime lullaby and "The Sulpher Man" starts out with a stab at orchestral rock before simmering down into a safer closing that is still inviting enough.

Rating: 7.75