My last days of 2020 were marked by the discovery of the music of Dover Lights, their first two singles really put a bit of light in that dark year. And now, on the 15th of January of 2021, they have released their first album, a complex work, both musically and lyrically, difficult to classify but fascinating. The band, which shares their name with a track of The Men They Couldn’t Hang, recognizes very diverse influences, from English sixties psychedelia to Americana and even industrial music. Dover Lights are Daniel Brinker and Andy Moore together with Ben Smith (percussion) and Warren Dickey playing the bouzouki.
The album starts with the incredible “Prisoners”, a track that shares the same epic vibe of Nick Cave’s “The Mercy Seat” and continues that tradition of storytelling that we can find in Dylan or Townes Van Zandt, and that some bands from the 80s, such as And Also The Trees managed to continue. But in this case, the story is sung along military drums and something that sounds like distorted keyboards that create a surprising and disturbing atmosphere. What a start! Sang with a lot of passion, “Terrors of the Night” is a more conventional rock song with an eighties vibe, and a beautiful chorus, and could be a perfect single. “Memory Dissolves” was actually one of the singles, and I would say that it sounds a bit like some dark War on Drugs doing shoegaze. “Carrauntoohil I” is an evocative short instrumental that preludes the acoustic guitars of “Blue Fox”, a track more folk but also quite good.
The amazing “Three Women” follows: a captivating and dreamy tune, three minutes of the most beautiful sorrow. Just amazing. Instead, “Howlin Man”, is the “industrial” track of the album, reflecting the most experimental side of the band and finishing, of course, with an aching howl. Although both tracks are quite different, the acoustic guitar of “Desolate Illinois” reminds me of Mother Love Bone’s “Crown of Thorn”, but the song of Dover Lights stays in dark folk territories. “Stone” is one of the shortest track of the album and stands out thanks to some powerful guitars and an Irish vibe. Delightfully strange. And the album comes to an end with the folk if “Carrauntoohil II” a kind of counter part of the first track, because where there was chaos there, there is peace here. The song has a false ending so don’t rush to the stereo to play the album again without listening to the last minute.
I have been wrong a thousand times, but for once I was right when I noticed, after listening to “Three Women”, that Dover Lights was a very special band. And now, with their first album, not only they fulfilled my expectations but they also managed to surprise me with almost every single song.