Doves on “The Universal Want” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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R to L: Andy Williams, Jimi Goodwin, Jez Williams

Doves on “The Universal Want”

Putting the Hours In

Jan 26, 2021 Issue #67 - Phoebe Bridgers and Moses Sumney Photography by Jon Shard Bookmark and Share

One of the most exciting music announcements of 2020 centered around the return of Doves and the imminent release of a new album, The Universal Want. The Manchester, England-based band’s first for 11 years since 2009’s Kingdom of Rust, The Universal Want comprises 10 songs that stands proudly alongside the trio’s other works.

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jimi Goodwin takes up the story of how he reconnected with his bandmates, brothers Jez and Andy Williams. “We got together in 2017 to hang out as friends. We hadn’t seen each other for a little while. Certainly not the full 11 years; we’d been at mutual parties and seen each other there…. As soon as we started pooling songs and ideas back in the summer of 2017, we just knew it was on. It felt right without saying it.”

That saw Doves revisit their vaults as well as pen new material.

“At least three of them go back a long time,” reveals Goodwin, explaining that “Broken Eyes” and “Forest House” were songs they “didn’t quite finish for Kingdom of Rust,” whereas “For Tomorrow” was first written for the band’s third album, 2005’s Some Cities. “We found the time and were in the right space to finish them,” Goodwin continues. “We had a listening session together of old stuff and with certain songs, knew we could do them justice this time. We had the ideas to progress them.”

As with previous Doves records, The Universal Want is a collaborative affair that’s also very personal to all three of its creators. The Williams brothers brought three new songs to the table; Goodwin says he presented three or four. “Whoever brings a song, if it passes the test, the three of us will develop it,” he explains. “Some lyrics are dead personal as in one person’s narrative. Others were put together collectively where we ended up bouncing ideas off each other to get the lyrics right. There is no real set way of doing it with us.”

Initially planned for release in April 2020, The Universal Want was pushed back to September 2020. Not because of COVID-19, but to ensure everything was ready rather than being rushed for the sake of it. That’s not to say the pandemic hasn’t had an impact on Goodwin and the band.

“I got a bit freaked out by lockdown,” he says candidly. “I’ve had quite a few up and down days over the past few weeks with the state of the bloody world. Part of me wondered if this record was really important right now? When it first broke, everything felt pretty hollow thinking about press schedules and interviews. But then at the end of the day we’re musicians and that’s what we do. So, there’s no shame really. What else can we do but crack on and release a really good record?”

And Goodwin hopes that the wait for their sixth album won’t be so long, saying that they have seven or eight hours of modular synth jams with their touring keyboardist Martin Rebelski. “I think we’ve got a really good freakout record in us,” he says. “We want to put out an imaginary film soundtrack.”

Goodwin calls himself “a lifer,” someone who has been making a career of music most of his adult life, including with Sub Sub, the ’90s electronic band all three members of Doves were in prior to their studio burning down and the trio having an indie rebirth as the current band.

“I had a job in the building trade. I used to work for my dad every summer in the holidays, on site,” Goodwin says, referring to his early employment. “Then by the time I was 18, 19 I started making a modest living out of music and I’ve kept it going. We’ve all been dead lucky but we’ve also put the hours in. You’ve got to put the hours in.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 67 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online.]

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