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Doves - Lost Souls (Astralwerks)

Every so often an album comes along which is so utterly sublime it makes you want to scream out a window or hug a complete stranger. Like Mercury Rev's "Deserter Songs" before it, Dove's "Lost Souls" captures beauty and despair, though it never descends into wrist slitting fare. The opening song, 'Fire Suite', sounds like it belongs on Air's "Virgin Suicides" soundtrack, a desolate landscape punctured by swooping guitars. With its distorted vocals and its lilting riff, 'Break me Gently' is Ooberman territory.

But the Cedar Room is arguably the highlight of this seminal album. Beginning with a distorted harmonica, it moves into what sounds like a live stadium with beat perfect applause. If ever a song was meant to be played to the Zippo waving masses, this is it. Big and emotive ("stars leave the morning/sleep clouds my view ") with soaring guitars crashing in unison with tingling harmony, it brings to mind Embrace's anthemic 'Back To What You Know', but does it better.

From Manchester, three-piece band Doves, who were originally a dance group, have been building up a steady fan base since "Lost Souls " was released in the UK earlier this year. Their sound is typically Mancunian and it makes you remember how exciting it was to hear Oasis or The Stone Roses' debut albums all those years ago. Indeed, there are psychedelic moments on this album as well as some folk influences. Listening to "Lost Souls " is like watching snowflakes fall on Christmas Eve or sunset over a graveyard. The track 'Lost Souls' is like the sound of benevolent spirits rising as well as the prospects of its young artists.

Anne-Louise Foley

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