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Morning Dove White

I don't know why I'm telling you this..." are the words, delivered in a soft, breathless whisper, that open One Dove's debut. It's almost an acknowledgement of their status as pop's best kept secret, a teasing aside on all their waiting in the shadows for their time to come. Yet the Glasgow-based trio always looked set to be hailed as heroes, with even their sporadic single releases showing them to be an island of contemplative calm in a market so reliant on brashness and empty spectacle.
The solipsistic diffidence expressed in those opening bars on 'Fallen' puts a distance between One Dove and almost everyone else on the house scene. For a start they write songs. Singer Dot uses her lyrics to meander through the lexicon of personal trauma like a tranquilised
Bjork, conjuring up a world peopled by ghostly apparitions suffering broken hearts and nervous breakdowns. Somehow she does it without ever sounding downbeat.
This is where their musical sophistication is evident. Crashing dub echoes and all the sound-effects trickery that producer Andrew Weatherall can muster don't spring to mind as the ideal backing for sensitive ballads, but the secret is in the melodies. Stripped of their backing, these songs are the stuff you end up humming in the bath, with melodies that linger in the mind rather than passing through it. The integral nature of the production is apparent when you compare the spooky harmonies summoned up by Weatherall's take on 'White Love' (a masterpiece of towering dubscapes and full-on feedback pyrotechnics) with Stephen Hague's, which tries to create 'pop' through disembowelling.
One Dove's secret is to feed the melancholy, confessional tone - the legacy of Roy Orbison and the kings and queens of country - through a gigantic digital dub processor, creating a perfect fusion of blues and bass. The dreaming piano lines on 'There Goes The Cure' and Julee Cruise-style vocal swoops on 'Why Don't You Take Me?' may float in a beatless environment, but prove as engaging on a bright sunny morning as they would in the gloomy depths of a club chill-out room. The dub-meets-prog-rock noodling of most of what passes for 'ambient' has been superseded by the rebirth ofThe Song.
For One Dove all this seems second nature, and their album has the kind of easy grace and effortless depth Saint Etienne would swap a wardrobe full of 'cheeky' samples for. 'Morning Dove White' (a title derived from the AmericanIndian name of Elvis Presley's grandmother) is truly a thing of beauty. 4 out 5 RUPERT HOWE

Originally appeared in Select September 1993 . Copyright Copyright, Select All Rights Reserved.


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