When the Manchester-based trio Doves unleashed its melancholy brand of Brit pop via 2000's Lost Souls, the responses varied. Some found the album too dark and dreamy, an ethereal collection of arty, unapproachable noise. Others embraced it with Pinkerton-like zeal and sat baffled as Coldplay snuck across the Atlantic and captured our flag. The act's next release, 2002's The Last Broadcast, was palatable to a wider audience, but it felt falsely optimistic. Some Cities deftly walks the middle ground between the two extremes, resulting in the band's best work. For example, "Black and White Town," which takes a "Heat Wave"-esque melody line and shapes it into a catchy lament on urban sprawl, shares time with "The Storm," a tune that suggests a strung-out, minimalistic Thom Yorke chopping his way through blips and fuzz, unearthing the heart of a sleepy melody. The album is still strange enough to keep Doves members from marrying Hollywood actresses and naming their kids after fruit, but with Some Cities, for the first time, that feels intentional.


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