Doves - Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Ireland
Doves' third album, Some Cities, has finally brought about some pant-wetting excitement for the trio; building on their native success, great strides are now being made over the pond too. Never the careerists, theirs has been a slow, steady rise rather than Supernova-to-damp-squib lifecycle of fellow Mancs Oasis. Some Cities saw them take their melodic blueprint further, releasing an album shot through with (Northern) soul-bearing smudged across an epic widescreen canvas. Yet here in the Irish open air, for all the tender anthems and hook-laden pop gems, Jimi Goodwin and brothers Jez and Andy Williams just fall short when it comes to stamping their own identity on an event and really connecting with their audience. Maybe it’s the elements.
They take to stage to wild applause but the band appears too humble to milk the acclaim, preferring to let the music do the talking. And it does with a perfect opening salvo of a temple-throbbing Pounding, the technicolour embrace of Snowden and the council house-Motown thump of Black And White Town. However, whilst each blisters with great intent, the band seems reluctant project their obvious enjoyment back onto the hopeful crowd: leaving us to simmer rather than boil. Worthy and earnest slow burning tracks like The Last Broadcast and Caught By The River, which litter the set, ram the point home. It is only during the closing pair of The Cedar Room and There Goes The Fear that they burst out of the shackles and cut loose; the latter's samba crescendo swelling our excitement to bladder-bursting levels. But after this thunderous climax, the most deafening noise is the empty feeling of an opportunity wasted.
Photos by Mark Thompson