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4.2 out of 5 stars43
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 30 July 2005
The problem that Doves will have the rest of their career is that every album they put out will be measured against their brilliant debut, Lost Souls. When I first listened to Some Cities, I thought "Hmm, not Lost Souls, not even The Last Broadcast." But like all Doves albums, you have to keep listening. You probably don't "get" the album until you have listened to more than five or six times all the way through. But once you do "get" it, then you keep playing it and playing it and playing it. The electronic atmospherics so prevalent on Lost Souls and to an extent on The Last Broadcast are toned down here. There aren't as many radio friendly tracks like "Catch the Sun," "Pounding," or "Caught by the River." But what is here is very solid. It's also varied. You've got Northern Soul influences on "Black and White Town," bluesy guitar playing on "Almost Forgot Myself," and the Doves' penchant for rockabilly on "Walk In Fire." But I must reserve special mention for three tracks in particular: "Snowden" with its electronically distorted string symphonic riff; the flute-accented 70s prog rock of "Someday Soon" (my favorite track); and the moody "Ambition" which relied on the reverberations of a Scottish cathedral where they recorded the track. There is so much variety here that even if you tire of listening to the whole album, you'll be drawn back to individual tracks. Doves are absolutely essential and the only band prepared to take the mantle of Mancunian musical elder statesmen when New Order finally pass from the stage.
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on 19 March 2005
This is my first taste of Doves, and "Some Cities" has certainly proved an enjoyable album to listen to over the past week (and perhaps, even, for a few weeks to come).
"Some Cities" opens its namesake album, and is fairly enjoyable even if it doesn't aspire to much. It then merges into the next track - "Black & White Town" - which has a pacey piano-riff and a thumping drum that sends it along nicely - this is arguably the best track on the album and it's no surprise it has been released as the first single. "Almost Forgot Myself" maintains the upbeat start to the album and has a 60s feel and proabably owes something to the bands of that era such as The Kinks. Snowden - which looks to be the second single from "Some Cities" - has twinkly guitar riffs and blaring oriental-style bursts which build up to the song's climax, ending in a climbing mountain of sound which justifies the track's name.
Here, a break from the summery beginning comes in the form of "The Storm", built around a movie-score sample with strings-infested melancholy that works rather well, and is certainly one of my favourite tracks on the album.
The album then returns to its previous state - albeit with a slightly darker side - with the songs "Walk In Fire" and "One Of These Days", the latter sounding like the perfect anthem for a summer festival. "Someday Soon" mixes somber vocals with a hopeful guitar/flute-like instrument riff to good effect. "Shadows of Salford" is a favourite of mine but is probably not very accessible - sounds depressing on the first listen, but creates a ghostly atmosphere with a creepy piano, vulnerable vocals and bursts of 'ooh! ooh!' that collaborates to make a somewhat unsettling but pleasant song. Hmmm....
The penultimate track is "Sky Starts Falling", a fast moving track which features an ongoing stomp that returns to the upbeat flavour heard earlier on but with a bit of angst thrown in. The final track is "Ambition", a nice, typically calming and soothing closer that completes the album well.
"Some Cities" is a pleasure to listen to, and while it lacks the killer track which will be memorable in a decade's time, it doesn't have a weak song - as a result, I have found the entire album to be enjoyable and will consider getting some of Doves' back catalogue as I've heard from others that this isn't their best. Well, they must be pretty consistent at writing good songs if that's the case!
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on 2 March 2005
Before it was released, I had my doubts as to whether "Some Cities" would be as good as "Lost Souls" and the excellent "The Last Broadcast." I needn't have worried as once again the Doves have delivered an outstanding album that promises to exclusively occupy your CD player for a fair old while after you get it home, with the band's instantly recognisable vocals and drums rehashed in a more 'live' sounding album which lacks the frenetic energy of "The Last Broadcast" without losing that indefinable quality that makes them such a good band. In all honesty, there isn't a weak track on the album; which has more than it's fair share of tracks that can send a shiver down your spine. People may pre-judge the album on 'Black and White Town,' which is a good track in itself, but the album also contains Doves classics such as 'Almost Forgot Myself' and 'Sky Starts Falling,' as well as quieter melodious tracks like the orchestral 'Snowden,' and the hushed final track on the album: 'Ambition,' recorded in a Benedictine monastery.
The DVD is a nice extra, consisting of video clips from the recording with comments from the band. There's a lot of footage of the varied locations where they stayed and recorded, and the photo gallery continues this with a number of mainly scenic shots. The video to 'Black and White Town' is also included, with the tune back dropped to a theme of inner-city childhood angst. The DVD's worth a watch, but from a practical point of view most people aren't going to revisit it too often, so my advice would be to just go for the album alone unless you particularly want the DVD or there's not much between this bundle and the album alone price-wise.
If you are a Doves fan, or just a fan of this style of music then I'd heartily recommend the album, you wont be disappointed!
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on 6 June 2005
I have to say I cant stop playing this album, it took a few listens but I have to disagree with the other reviews above and say that this is really really great stuff from The Doves. "Some Cities" and "Black and White Town" are great tracks.
BUT...."Almost Forgot MySelf", "Snowden", "Sky Starts Falling" and pretty much the others are superb tracks in their own right!
The three mentioned are class, Almost Forgot MySelf is brilliant a dragging guitar start and catchy bass line are fab its sheer Head Nodding stuff, the lyrics are moody soulfull and deep.
Snowden is subtle and rolls along Its my favourite, the winding guitars and lyrics brilliant, I could go on but I wont, just buy it and see for your self, forget Some Cities and Black and White Town listen to the rest and get caught up in it all.
Class album never bored of hearing it!
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on 19 March 2005
This is my first taste of Doves, and "Some Cities" has certainly proved an enjoyable album to listen to over the past week (and perhaps, even, for a few weeks to come).
"Some Cities" opens its namesake album, and is fairly enjoyable even if it doesn't aspire to much. It then merges into the next track - "Black & White Town" - which has a pacey piano-riff and a thumping drum that sends it along nicely - this is arguably the best track on the album and it's no surprise it has been released as the first single. "Almost Forgot Myself" maintains the upbeat start to the album and has a 60s feel and proabably owes something to the bands of that era such as The Kinks. Snowden - which looks to be the second single from "Some Cities" - has twinkly guitar riffs and blaring oriental-style bursts which build up to the song's climax, ending in a climbing mountain of sound which justifies the track's name.
Here, a break from the summery beginning comes in the form of "The Storm", built around a movie-score sample with strings-infested melancholy that works rather well, and is certainly one of my favourite tracks on the album.
The album then returns to its previous state - albeit with a slightly darker side - with the songs "Walk In Fire" and "One Of These Days", the latter sounding like the perfect anthem for a summer festival. "Someday Soon" mixes somber vocals with a hopeful guitar/flute-like instrument riff to good effect. "Shadows of Salford" is a favourite of mine but is probably not very accessible - sounds depressing on the first listen, but creates a ghostly atmosphere with a creepy piano, vulnerable vocals and bursts of 'ooh! ooh!' that collaborates to make a somewhat unsettling but pleasant song. Hmmm....
The penultimate track is "Sky Starts Falling", a fast moving track which features an ongoing stomp that returns to the upbeat flavour heard earlier on but with a bit of angst thrown in. The final track is "Ambition", a nice, typically calming and soothing closer that completes the album well.
"Some Cities" is a pleasure to listen to, and while it lacks the killer track which will be memorable in a decade's time, it doesn't have a weak song - as a result, I have found the entire album to be enjoyable and will consider getting some of Doves' back catalogue as I've heard from others that this isn't their best. Well, they must be pretty consistent at writing good songs if that's the case!
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on 22 May 2006
There is so much going on that on a simple background listen one would miss. I suppose generally it's a chilled album but my body has been discovered to be uncontrollably jigging to the groove. Grooves which tend to be constant in structure with only slight alterations along the way.

I'm now gonna go against all that I've just written and say the word "Epic".

Songs average at 4.30 and, from a recording and mixing point of view, cover a massive range of styles and techniques. A fantastic use of room sounds (I've been told they recorded a lot of the album in an old church (the sleeve states that it was recorded and mixed in 10 different locations!!!) and computer (or otherwise) effects.

I find myself occasionally listening and waiting for the next effect to slip in `cos it always sounds so freakin' ace!!

This is my first time with this band and I can highly recommend it as a starting point. After this I got all their other albums and discovered many delights on the way.

I'd recommend this album to anyone with a cultured and wide range in tastes. It's not too intrusive and has a great mixture of sad and happy songs, leaving you feeling ... well ... alive!

This album will be in and out of my player for the rest of my life. And I'll always find something new!

Conclusion:
A lovely chunk of ear candy - eat it NOW!
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on 10 March 2006
"[Some Cities] is the sound of a band pushing themselves to the limit of their songwriting abilities and they're clearly enjoying every minute"
(Dan Tallis, BBC)
After their inspired Last Souls debut and the sheer brilliance of The Last Broadcast, Doves knew they had a lot to live up to with their third album - and they certainly don't disappoint. Though it is still characteristically Doves, they have built upon previous records to make some of their most spectacular music to date. From the haunting sounds in Snowden, and the epic strings in The Storm to the jangy piano in Black and White Town, the Doves manage to create a wonderful layer of sound that is simply magical to listen to. Even better though, all of this is merely in support to the brilliant tunes and melodies of the songs. Jim Goodwin's marvellous voice captures you on most tracks, although guitarist Andy Williams takes the lead on others to equally satisfying effect.
Covering subjects such as city centre regeneration and satellite towns lack of 'colour and sound' (Black and White Town), the atmospheric feel of the album in undeniable. You actually feel as if you stood by the band watching as historical buildings are torn down and the city centre becomes a sterile carbon copy of every other major city. The album is all downcast however, the uplifting spirit of Sky Starts Falling and Walk in Fire are infectious.
Simply put, this is a brilliant, fundamentally Northern album from a group, who are arguably the best Mancunian band around at the moment, pushing the musical boundaries of the indie genre.
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Three years have passed since the Doves put out the outstanding "Last Broadcast." Their third album, "Some Cities" take a slightly different tack. While their music is as powerful as ever, the Doves try some new musical styles -- ballads and a bit of dancepop -- woven in with the guitar rock. It may take a little while to grow on listeners, but it's worth it.

The songs are somewhat smaller in scale than what the Doves have done before. Instead of going for a continuously epic sound, the Doves opt for a more intimate sound to go with their home-village theme -- gentler, sadder and sometimes sweetier. In short, they go for gentle, eerie music, not dark grandeur. At least, not all the time.

The lead single "Black and White Town" strips things down to wavering keyboards and an insistent drumbeat. Some veer towards eerie sadness like "Someday Soon," while others retain the larger-than-life quality of the Doves' past work, complete with choruses and expansive vistas. These variations -- some little and sweet, some intricate -- make the album seem more musically mature.

It's always a shock to go home after a few years away, and discover the changes that people living there haven't even noticed. In a way, it's watching an old life slipping away. And it feels like the guys from Manchester are having a rude awakening to this in "Some Cities."

Not that everything here is depressing -- "Black and White Town" sounds like it was tailor-made to be a hit, with bored-youth lyrics and a dancey beat. It reaches back, maybe, to the Doves origins as "Sub Sub," a dance pop group. And the next-to-last song changes the mood to one of optimism. But reflections on their hometown and the past overshadow these, and lend the album the mournful beauty that the Doves do so well.

There has always been a symphonic sound to the Doves' music, and they apparently aren't about to change that. Not that I'm complaining -- few bands can pair crunchy guitars and synth with classical strings. At least, few can do it without sounding like they are trying too hard. In the case of the Doves, the classical edge merely adds a gloss to the panoramic rock music.

"Some Cities" lets the Doves stretch their wings (pun unintended, I swear), with some exquisite new musical styles and a poignant look back at their hometown. Absolutely stunning.
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on 6 March 2005
...is the best way to describe this new Doves album. In my opinion, Lost Souls was the Doves finding their feet, and The Last Broadcast was the Doves exploring more mainstream athemic music. Some Cities kind of follows on from The Last Broadcast, containing some fairly anthemic tracks. However, it is far more laid back and mellow too and more about the Doves going back to the beginning and exploring/developing their own unique style.
The first six tracks are all very strong - Some Cities kicks off the album at a lively pace, followed by Black and White Town which is also pretty upbeat and lively - both tracks wouldn't have been out of place on TLB. The pace then slows with the heartfelt Almost Forgot Myself, and the hugely melodic Snowden. Listen out for the wonderful piano interludes in this track - amazing!
The Storm features some interesting special effects - and, no, your CD is not skipping! It is fairly moody stuff, though Walk In Fire is a little more upbeat - the guitar riff at the start reminds me of the intro to Suspicious Minds! I find One of These Days and Someday Soon a bit weak - the album seems to drag a little at this point. It does pick up with the next track though, Shadows of Salford - a slow melodic ballad which is really touching stuff and beautifully sung.
Sky Starts Falling is an awesome penultimate track - very upbeat, lively, and a true anthem - this is by far my favourite track on the album and perhaps most comparable to the classic Pounding off TLB. Ambition is a well chosen track to finish with - it is slower with some nice melodies and gives the album a nice sense of closure.
I would conclude by saying this album is my second favourite Doves album, which isn't to say it's merely mediocre because it's not, but it doesn't quite reach the dizzy heights of The Last Broadcast. However, it is a solid close-second and an album well worth a listen if you are a Doves fan. If you liked TLB then I guess you'd like a lot of this - but you need to be ready for something which can also be much slower, more downbeat and more soulful in places too. Much of this album gives an impression of the Doves going back to their roots.
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on 22 February 2005
After listening to Some Cities a couple of times now i really am taken aback, i have rated 9 out of 11 tracks 5 star, which is not an exaggeration and of course this could change in time. Black And White Town was a great single to start with, it really adds an upbeat to the album and i think producer Ben Hillier has done a great job. My favorite track is The Storm - its one of the most moving songs i have ever listened too, both atmospheric and bursting with creativity. Before i loved Lost Souls, now after buying Some Cities it is up there wih some of my most respected albums. If you are looking for an album filled with chilled out, good music and an extremely talented and creative band then i strongly advise the purchase of Some Cities.
('.SUPPORT REAL TALENT.')
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