Four years in the making, Doves finally released their fourth album ‘Kingdom Of Rust’ this week (April 6). With the Manchester trio exploring “every idea to its logical conclusion” during the recording it’s a record that references Kraftwerk, Johnny Cash, ESG and even their old incarnation Sub Sub in a single breath.
“However no matter how schizo this album is, it’s got our DNA all over it,” declares guitarist Jez Williams as he gives NME a personal tour of ‘Kingdom Of Rust’. You can also watch a track-by-track video interview, embedded below.
“We’ve always been mad into our film scores and this features that atmosphere. We always wanted to do a sci-fi feeling tune and this fits that bill. Lyrically we wanted it to be this ‘Blade Runner’-ish thing and you can hear bits of Kraftwerk in there. We brought a machine from a factory in Russia that used to make bullets, which provided the metallic sound. We found it on eBay, it’s a mad looking, it looks like military hardware.”
Kingdom Of Rust
“Really early it started off as this really moody, Johnny Cash-esque idea, but now it’s almost three different songs put together. There’s the country vibe on the verse, which morphed into this ’60s filmic thing for the chorus and there’s a loud bit in the middle! The lyrics are about what’s going on these days. Everything is crumbling apart but this is trying to keep a bit of faith.”
“We set up camp In this place in Derbyshire to do a bit of songwriting and that came out of there. It’s got this Can-esque unstoppable drumbeat and we threw all these space invader noises at it. Lyrically it’s us against them, a stay together and hang-tight song. It’s our rock n roll number.”
“It’s a place you can see in lots of part of Manchester, it’s got a massive communication on it, so we set our story there. In fact the song has been hanging around since ‘Lost Souls’ but we’ve never worked on it before. It just kept knocking on our door. The story is about meeting someone from your past.”
“Yes it’s a train reference! There’s a strong theme of travel on this album. It’s wanting to get back having been away from somewhere for a long time. This starts off almost doo-wop before gathering pace. It’s a ballad that turns into a runaway train! Where does the 10.03 go? Home.”
The Greatest Denier
“We had the words Greatest Denier first and built a song around that, it’s a bit of writing in character. It’s someone who’s ideas are now redundant, someone just trying to cling onto the past. We want it sound like there’s a threat of violence in the air, so it’s quite claustrophobic and menacing.”
Birds Flew Backwards
“There’s a lot of information and intensity on this album and we wanted this song to have a breather from that. It’s just a snapshot of talking a walk through a forest. We realised our labelmate Ed Harcourt has a song with a similar title, but we’re sure he won’t mind.”
“This one is really blissful, which is what we wanted for it. It’s also spiralling and intense but fundamentally it’s just a joyous song. It’s pretty straightforward, just full of bliss.”
“The groove on this had been knocking around for a bit, but then we morphed into more of a Doves sound. Jimi tried singing it and it didn’t work so I had a go, we often try swapping vocals. I wanted the bass to sound like The Clash, it’s really raw and dark. There’s no slap bass though, I know people are saying that. We’re from Manchester, it’s just natural our groove has come out.”
House Of Mirrors
“The way we got this to sound right was by mixing it through a 1970s East German tape recorder. We wanted to sound crunched. It’s garage rock, and full of attitude about something in your past that’s haunting you. There’s no messing about.”
“We wanted to finish on an up note. It’s quite a reflective song but it’s really positive. People have picked up on the lyric “a place we’ve never been” and that’s how it feels for us at the moment, it feels like we’ve turned a corner with this album. It took four years and it wasn’t an easy four years so it’s really good to end it on a positive. It’s a perfect last song.”
A version of this article appears in the new issue of NME magazine, on sale now.
You can also read NME’s review of the album, which appeared in the April 4 issue.