- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

For some bands, success leads to albums full of the vagaries of fame, depressing accounts of how lonely it is at the top. For the British trio Doves, success had led them to record a sophomore album that radiates hope and is far more optimistic than the band's dour debut.
Though hardly a familiar name to U.S. audiences, Doves has made the shortlist for the Mercury Prize twice (a prestigious British music award) and is described by judges for the award as "a powerful British rock band at the top of their game."
Now on a tour of the United States behind its second album "The Last Broadcast," the band plays the 9:30 Club tomorrow night.
"It was kind of a natural progression for us to try and do something that's a bit uplifting," says guitarist Jez Williams over the phone from a hotel room in New York City. "I think the lyrics are much more direct."
Mr. Williams and brother Andy Williams (drums) formed the group with vocalist Jimi Goodwin in 1998 in Manchester, England, after working successfully in another band called Sub Sub. The story goes that they decided to switch from Sub Sub's techno dance music to straight-ahead rock after a fire destroyed all of the group's old DJ equipment.
That techno influence still colors the band's music, especially on its 2000 debut "Lost Souls." It's a moody, reflective rock album that is at times psychedelic in its use of guitars and sonic backdrops.
"Living in Manchester, we were always trying to escape it, so most of the lyrics deal with escapism," Mr. Williams says of their debut. "After 'Lost Souls,' we finally did what we'd wanted to do for eight to 10 years we escaped."
Having a critically acclaimed album (sales were strong in the United Kingdom if not in the United States) helped keep the Doves touring steadily and gave them a strong foundation to record the follow-up.
"We knew we were proud of what we did, but we were surprised so many people identified with it," Mr. Williams says.
The joy of succeeding helped make "The Last Broadcast" a far more upbeat record, including the catchy single "There Goes the Fear."
"The only people who put pressure on us were ourselves," Mr. Williams says. "We wanted to make a different album we obviously didn't want to repeat 'Lost Souls.'"
One strong influence on the group was the film "Mulholland Drive," the creepy David Lynch movie that seems a perfect fit for some of the darker music of the Doves.
"If we got a good offer from a director, it'd be brilliant," Mr. Williams says, a trace of excitement in his voice. "We'd love to do something like that, in film."
There are no firm ideas for what direction the Doves might head in next, but Mr. Williams assures fans that the group's strong songwriting will remain a constant.
"I think we're lucky as a band that we're not being stun by our own formula," he says. "We don't feel threatened by our own success."
As for the live show, it's a bit more upbeat than the Doves sometimes mellow music might suggest.
"We speed everything up and make sure that everything's exciting," Mr. Williams says. "It's a very different animal we're just getting better and better as a live band."

WHAT: Doves with opener My Morning Jacket
WHERE: 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW
WHEN: 8 p.m. tomorrow
PHONE: 202/393-0930.

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