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Swan Dive

I DON'T know, normally I love spoiling parties.
And if my hopes had not been so high I wouldn't have left feeling so low. But who got those hopes up in the first place?
Fact: the most desperate, delicate moment this year happens precisely two minutes and 47 seconds into One Dove's "Sirens". Somewhere in the second verse, Dot shuts her eyes, spins on her heel, tosses her head and sighs" but I am touched byange/s..."
The first syllable of that last word opens like a peacock's fan, spreads like frosted breath to the corners of possibility. A sound breaking down in the face of life's littlest demands, it doesn't understand why it can't have worlds that are justthe blinking of its imagination away. Then finally the wind drops and we get the last syllable, gently laid to rest in moonbeams. Ace.
Problems, then. Tonight, "Sirens" is played twice; the first time it's too fast, the moment carried off on ribbon-whirling gusts; tried again, it's just limp where it should be limpid, collapsing from within. Blame it on the sound mix, the cramped stage, the dull crowd; blame it on the boogie, but tonight One Dove fly frighteningly close to the ground, their wings cripplingly, inexclicablv clipped.
We've all seen our favourite bands go down in wind, rain, fog, hail, sleet and snow. We know what gigs sound like. We know they come off second best to tobogganing under the Northern Lights. But this is waking up on Christmas morning to find that it hasn't snowed. Horribly, heartbreakingly predictable.
And they're being justa touch too leisurely. Yes, yes, yes, tonight "fallen" is two steel fists of stardust, but I still leave half-empty, feel a certain responsibility, want no part in their false security. Give in to seduction too soon and you miss the moon. Like any young man with a little self-respect, I'm playing hard to get.
Deep in the soft, dewy flesh of "Morning Dove White" I've stowed a couple of hearts, and to see One Dove plough along like this, sandpapering these songs until they just sound like beats with guitars and keyboordsand not like weeping pandas at all. .. They just don't look bothered, they aren't trying. I take it personally. There's a reason why these people have been snatched, silvered and held out in the wind, given something to prove. Maybe we can't wave the word" responsibility" - the audience must never, ever dictate to the star - but a lot of people are trusting One Dove to make tonight special.
We pay these people to make us feel special. We mustn't let them get away with anything.

Originally appeared in Melody Maker 28 October 1993 . Copyright Copyright, Melody Maker. All Rights Reserved.


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