Do You Hate Excitement? Listen to Doves!


As you might’ve guessed, that’s not the cover of Doves’ Kingdom of Rust album. I’m listening to it right now, so if I nod off a bit here and there, then


Sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah. Kingdom of Rust. I fell asleep during the first track. Then I woke up. “Jetstream” just ended. “Kingdom of Rust” is starting. Nodding off again. 11 minutes of my life on the first two tracks of Kingdom of Rust. I feel like I’m at the DMV. Seriously, this album should come with a warning label: “High grade musical narcotic – do not operate heavy machinery while listening.”

Lest I be accused of cranking out overwrought prose (which seems to happen around here – the accusation, not the prose itself. You’ve never seen me in full overwrought mode, for I can assure you that if you did, it would put Byron Orpheus to shame. And if you don’t know who he is, stop reading this and go watch some Venture Brothers right now), the new Doves album isn’t terrible. It’s kinda like a Coldplay album – their singers even sound alike – so maybe your girlfriend will like it. I’m thinking of doing a Folgers Crystals-style switch on my fiance where I tell her I’m putting on a Coldplay album and I play Kingdom of Rust instead.

Every song on Kingdom of Rust seems like it’s an hour long, and it seems like they want me to feel like there are epic runs up to even more epic climaxes, but if Kingdom of Rust were a state, it’d be Kansas. Not only ’cause it’s flat, but because it doesn’t seem to believe in evolution. The guitars are out of Coldplay (whose guitars are out of U2) and the vocals that aren’t Chris Martiny (and they are few) sound like the guy from Muse who sounds like Thom Yorke. The Doves’ guy (Jimi Goodwin? Jez Williams? I don’t care) doesn’t do that annoying falsetto thing that Martin does, but neither does he write melodies that are as strong as Coldplay’s. Take note, readers – I’ll never say something this nice about Coldplay again. And it could only take something as frightfully dull as Kingdom of Rust to get me to say it.

But here’s the thing: Coldplay, for all their faults (and they are many) can at least cough up a melodic hook – they’re usually obvious and about as trite as music can get this side of Andrew Lloyd Weber, but they’re there. And I’ll even cop to liking “The Scientist.” Chris Martin is a bad lyricist who writes obvious melodies that your girlfriend will love. If you’re musically inclined, you probably won’t love them. But with Doves, there’s nothing to grab onto. This is not to say that bands should only write obvious melodies – I love Tom Waits and Sonic Youth, so obvious melody is clearly not a must for me – but some melody, something to pull you into the song would be good. It’s as if Doves have forgotten that other people will listen to their music and …

Hang on. A knock at the door.

Later, 9:15 a.m., Thursday, April 30th, 2009: You will not fucking believe what just happened. I started writing this review at about 8:30 this morning and around 8:45, I got a knock on the door. From ninjas. Or zombies. Or Pirates. Or some combination of the three. There were hundreds of them, stumbling around the courtyard of my apartment complex, lamely hurling throwing stars, growling “arrrrrr” and eating my neighbors’ brains.

Fortunately, I’ve been playing a lot of Dead Rising lately and was fully prepared. I grabbed up my baseball bat and went to town, obliterating head after head, enjoying the splatty, rotten-pumpkiny squish of their skulls caving in at the hard smack of my Louisville Slugger. Some of the more ninja-ish zombies attempted to engage me in hand to hand combat, but were easily dispatched with a kitchen knife (no plot hole here, readers – I tucked the knife into my belt when I grabbed my baseball bat. You can’t be too careful when pirate-ninja-zombies invade your tiny apartment complex). Lucky for me, even ninja zombies are kinda slow moving, and definitely not as stealthy as real ninjas. The pirate zombies lunged forward, clumsily brandishing their swords. My faithful dog, Asha, came to my aid here, biting the legs of the poor zombie bastards. As they toppled upon each other, my trusty bat and I made mush of their heads. And now I had swords. Seeing that more zombies remained, I picked up two swords, letting my bat rest. I struck a heroic pose indeed, in jeans, sandals, and a Hold Steady t-shirt. I held the swords at the ready, looked a zombie square in its dead-ass eyes, and finally had an excuse to say, “Come get some.”

The rest is really a blur. I remember putrefied flesh advancing upon me and the flash of blades cutting through dead skin and hollow bone. When it was all over, I waded through the pile of zombie parts and zombie guts, back into my apartment to complete my duty to you, my readers, and finish reviewing and – shudder – listening to Doves’ Kingdom of Rust album.


Sorry. Nodded off there again. I think “Compulsion” is playing. Can’t tell. Too bored. I know what you’re thinking, too: you’re thinking there is no way that pirate-ninja zombie thing happened. You can think what you want; I report, you decide. But you gotta admit that reading about pirate-ninja-zombies is a helluva lot more exciting than reading about the new Doves album or, dog forbid, listening to the fucking thing.


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