Since Lost Souls
, Doves have been lumped in with fellow floaty-sounding Brits like Coldplay and Starsailor. The comparison always seemed a tad forced; sure, Jimi Goodwin's vocals are as ethereal and blurred as the next sensitive Englishman's, and he and the Williams brothers have certainly mastered the art of the hook. However, they've got considerably more chaos (albeit tightly controlled) in them than, say, Travis -- witness "Snowden"'s breakdown of crackling fuzz and exultantly panic-edged synthesizer, or the muttery delayed-out choruses in "One of These Days".
Still, Doves are first and foremost a pop group, and Some Cities bears that out quite well, particularly toward the beginning. The record kicks off with its title track (how retro!), in which a brawny, straightforward beat ushers Goodwin's purposeful singing and the guitar's sprightly jangle-twang. It's not the album's catchiest tune -- that honor is reserved for "Black and White Town", the piano-driven lead single -- but it's a beguiling start. Elsewhere, "Almost Forgot Myself"'s insistent rhythm section makes for appropriate walking music, and "The Storm" is a groovy harmonica-laced bit of transcendent spookiness. Some Cities' slower tunes are by no means filler, either; you could do worse for a couples-skate than the sentimentally lovely waltz-time "Someday Soon".
Some Cities won't lose Doves any fans; it might even gain them a few. However, while there are plenty of MTV2-ready tunes, the record doesn't bear much repetition. If they're going to come out with their OK Computer, they'd better do it soon.