"Lost Souls"


Frankly, Doves's re{acute}sume{acute} is a bit perplexing. This Manchester trio used to be Sub Sub, a successful neo-disco outfit. But it's also served as the backup band for Badly Drawn Boy, Britain's leading exponent of sensitive, homemade folkie-rock. Any confusion, however, can be dispelled with a spin of the band's self-titled debut: It's wide screen neo-psychedelic pop-rock that any Oasis or Verve fan will fathom immediately.

Like those groups at their most grandiose, Doves takes a while to get to the pop-rock part. The album opens with "Firesuite," a collection of ripples, washes and heavily reverbed mutterings, and continues in a similar mode. Tracks like "Sea Song" and "Rise" reflect the band's proclivity for nature imagery and oceanic currents. Periodically, though, the melodic tides coalesce into actual songs, and those aren't bad at all. "Melody Calls" and "Catch the Sun" are bright, tuneful and remarkably un-self-conscious. Just don't be surprised when the musical weather turns vaporous again.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Sunday at the 9:30 club. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Doves, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8124. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)