Doves: The Universal Want review | Alexis Petridis’s album of the week

(Virgin EMI)
The kings of catchy melancholia are back after a decade away – and their tried and tested blueprint has lost none of its magic

Last year, Doves played a series of comeback gigs after nearly a decade on hiatus. The trio seemed startled by the response. “It’s sold out!” frontman Jimi Goodwin remarked from the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. “This is incredible.”

You can understand his surprise: the world of rock and pop music feels noticeably different from the one Doves departed, where Spotify had just launched, British indie bands routinely topped the album charts and the only UK rap that broke the mainstream was cravenly poppy. Then again, why wouldn’t they be welcomed back? They didn’t split due to falling sales or widespread indifference, and they spent the 00s occupying a curious space of their own within British alt-rock. They were devoid of the flashy image-consciousness of the indie bands who defined that era – and nearly a decade older than them.

Related: Sign up for the Sleeve Notes email: music news, bold reviews and unexpected extras

Continue reading…