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Bird Up

After being tagged "the best unreleased album of 1992", ONE DOVE's debut LP finally looks set to hit the shops. The sound of eurphoria lapping up against melancholy, it's combination of dub-pop and rave fallout is the perfect post-ecstasy comedown. ROGER MORTON takes flight with the most whispered about caged birds in pop.Watching th the birdies: PETER WALSH

The first time I saw Dorothy Allison, she teetered into the dry ice and amy nitrate fug of West End dance den The Love Ranch wearing a pair of white skyscraper platforn shoes that screamed to every semi-brained disco cruiser in the place, 'I AM THE ANGEL DIVA DIVINE SINGER IN THE BEST BAND YOU'RE GOING TO SEE ALL YEAR'.
They were ambitious shoes, though not, apparently very practical. That night, two years back, a then embryonic One Dave PA-ed through a short set of crystal firmament dub pop and a small buzz of recogntton ran round the club. Here was a band pushing for something richer and sweeter than the rest of the rave fall-out bands. In the grand melodic weeps and liquid sky vocals, the signs of aesthetic extremism were all there.
The second time I saw Dorothy, you couldn't see her - shoes for the wall of bodies pushed up against the stage. Earlier this year One Dove played at indie-mini venue The Camden Falcon and the place was rammed solid. A full complement of faces normally seen lurking in the corners of Prinal Scream, Orb and Drum Club events were in attendance.
Andy Weatherall, by now the band's producer, was wedged into a corner DJ-ing. Before the overheating crush of displaced clubbers, One Dove, now a full band, burned through a set of ecstatc flotaton pop, and a giant wave of recogniton and approval flooded the room. Here was a band whose Icarus-high ambitions were belng realized.

TODAY, DOT is wearing flat shiny black shoes, her 'Miss Jean Brodie' shoes, with a reserve pair of grey and black fake snakeskin boots in her bag. More practical, apparently, than the white foot slilts which now serve as plant pots. One Dove are In Newcastle, playing at the Riverside as part of a warm up to the full tour which will follow the release of their head-caving 'White Love' single
A year after they finished recording their debut Weatherall produced LP, their record company, London/Boys Own are finally going to release it in August Three years after their first single 'Falling', the most whispered about caged-birds in pop are about to take wing. Why all the whispering? Because One Dove are the afterglow from paradise, that's why. Bliss pop's sweetest hangover. Come down, chill out drift off, glaze over, beathe deeply, ride the air currents, follow the light patterns, remember in tranquillity.
"At four o'clock in the morning, the back door of the dub opened on to the beach," remembers Dot. 'We walked out down the jetty onto a two floor ship where there 'was free drink and free drugs, decks and like a helicopter flying avethead and people dancing on the ship. I mean, you can't beat it when the sun's just coming up. I just remember thinking I wish everyone could experience thIs."
One Dove are the sound of euphoria tapping up againnst melancholy. The Dove experience takes in everything about Utopian sunrise club music that could be derisory and cliched and reins it in with astute pop instincts. Wen journalists start talking about Image blurs of starfruit avalanches, desert lightening, deep space snowfall and hammocks full of diamonds, it's usually time to go and find a Napalm Death tape. But for once One Dove justify that kind of stream of consciousness colouring. Possibly, they are The Cocteau Twins just back from Ibiza. lf you want to swim their oasis you have to dive in the deep end.
The three core Dove members met In Glasgow at the end of the '8Os. Jim and Dot were working in a bar together. Ian had his own studio. In a town with a relatively small scene it was just inevitible, they say, that three like-minded individuals would get together. Jim, with his Taxi Driver haircut and hardman edge, comes from a part of town where you either got into housebreaking or picked up an instrument. Not being much of a drain-pipe climber, he picked up a bass and found himself playing In mid-'80s cute pop band Altered Images. "It was strange, he says. "Because I didn't like them, and they didn't like me." It didn't last
Dot, who has a twin brother and was born in Edinburgh. - drifted towards the piano after a couple of years stu~dyng Biochemistry. Ian escaped Into his studio from a hayfever suffering chlldhocd spent shut In a bedroom with his older sisters' '6Os pop singles for company.
Jim is the passionate rock'n'roll romantic. Dot is the quietly amused angel. Ian is the grounded, thoughtful one. Together they have a confidence about the worth of their musk that would look like anogance were it not for the fact that tapes of their album have been circulating for months now and the tag of 'best unreleased album of '92' has stuck. One Dove don't want to moan about the contractual problems which held back the album's release due to differences between dance indie Bots Own and their licensing overseers London. They've got more important things on their mind.
"l would say we're on the verge of doing something as good as Brian Wilson ever did or Neil Young ever did. but In a different way," says Jim. "And that's the way to do it. People say: "how can you compare yoursef to Neil Young?" But we're talking about a sound, something people haven't heard before.
"Pesonally I really do want that legendary thing, I want to be as legendary as 'Pet Sounds', I want that whole insanity of Brian Wilson siting experimenting with sounds that he'd never ever tried before. Sitting in the studio when the rest of The Beach Boys are out sitting in a sand box with his piano in It. But he cam up with one of the best albums ever. I want that. I want people to look back on us. It might not be the biggest paragraph in the Encyclopedia Of Rock'n'Roll but it'll be the most colourful. I think were damn close to that"
One Dove might have been touched by the hand of Weatherall, but they are by no means for dance connoissers only. 'White Love' open's with the kind of ludicrously over-the-top metal guitar normally associated with rock god strutters before careening off on it's transcendental groove trajectory. One Dove may have ueed their years of excessive clubbing as the catalyst for the band.They put in plently of nIghts, rehearsing until late, off out to Glasgow's Slam Club and on to the 'legendary' Bobby M's Warhol style chilling parties. It was on a night of mental clubbing In Rimini that they linked up with Weatherall and the Boys Own crew.
But the melodic core ofthe band was forged from years of siting in bedrooms listening to everything from '60s top to The Clash to dub reggae. Oh yes. And country and western. Big in the west of Scotland, apparently. - One Dove's emotion bleeding, pure pop vision is a mixture of all of it.
Dub is a great foundation to put anyhing spacey and a bit airy over the top of," says AJim. "l"ve always known that's the right way to do it. But the purity of it comes from using the same chord techniques, the same emotions as country and western music. You take the bland sound away from country and western music' and you listen to the purity of the actual chord sequences and the melody - it's the same thing, the same heart rending feeling of loss.
l can always remember someone saying that the people 'who were behind Elvis Presley actually did have a clinIcal thought of marrying gospel music with R&B and sometimes they got it right, sometimes it worked beautifully. And I would love to do that. Marry country and western with a heavy dub tune. And I think we're close to doing that. We have the same starting point.Sitting with a guitar and looking for the right chord sequence, and soon you come across the sweetest one. You can feel it straight away."
Sitting outside a pub on the banks of The Tyne, One Dove argue the toss over where the near gushing dream state emotional force of their songs come from. Dot says that the lyrics to songs like the girl-group dub 'Breakdown' and the mystical soundscape pulse 'Transient Truth' are too personal to explain. Drugs, they say, are only incidental to the creative process (even though their name contains a jokey reference to Dove ecstasy pills) but Jim admits to the influence of "gin-soaked" nights, searching for the perfect third chord.
The presence of Andy Weatherall as the band's producer and on-the road Dj has of course given rise to much talk of the One Dove album being the follow-up to 'Sceamadelica', 'which also born the dance guru's trippy-echo imprint. The shorthand version of One Dove already has them down as same sort of interface between Primal Scream and St Etienne. As a starting point that's not bad, but it doesn't by any means reveal the full cinemascopic picture.
"A lot of people are scared of having his name because they think a let of people will think we're one of Andy's projects. says Jim. "But I'm not scared of that at all. I actually like working with Andy. I like his Ideas. He has got a great sound. And that's what it is. He's nothing to do with the writing or the pIaying, but I'd say he was 25 per cent of our sound.
"I think the link between us and Primal Scream is Andy obviously, and the link between us and St Etienne is a love of old pop music, classic pop music. But I think we try for a harder ryhythm, I don't think they've got that darker edge that we've got. But reading their lnterviews, they quote the same kind of people as I admire. '60S girl groups, old Beach Boys stuff. It's the same with Bobby Gillespie, he quotes the same stuff, so we are just Iike-minded. But there's no clinical attempt to do it. Auyway, we write better songs!"

ONE DOVE are in the scary position of looking like the perfect pop group of the monent. They have three years of underground building behind them. They have one brilliant album already there and half a second LP on the way. They're working at a pop-rambient-dub crossroads which makes them as sweet to the ears of Belly fans as Orb lovers.
And in Dot they have an effortlessly good-looking singer with an other wordly voice well up to blowing the lid off a soundcheck unaccompanied. This is nobody's dumb blonde.
"I think l got very worried about it In the beginning because I thought "what should I look like?" she says, "But I realised that I'm going to look the way I look normally and if people like it they like it and if they don't then they can f-off. It's not as if I've ever dressed like an old trout anyway, so I don't need to worry about it"
After all the post acid house years of passing round the golden slipper to find a club band who can hold their heads up above the dry ice, One Dvve have finally done it. With or without platforms.
"l honestly think we have," says Jim. "I think we've done it really well. I think we've doing it within a discipline as well. We once got aligned to The Orb and that's not fair because they took that style and meandered for 20 minutes. We didn't. We took everything we learned from that whole culture and we siphoned it and synthesised it. And we took everything that we learned through drugs or through drink or through real life and we channelled it into what we know best about rock'n'n"olI, about pop music. And I honetly think we're the best out of that whole post-ecstasy culture. We're the best at channelling it into true pop."
One Dove? It's all you need.


Originally appeared in NME on 10 July 1993 Copyright © IPC Magazine Ltd. 1993

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