We’ve long championed Doves as heroes of Manchester and with good reason – we even had the honour of interviewing them ahead of releasing their last chart-topping album “The Universal Want”. But in an exchange with us on Twitter there has been a suggestion that in retrospect, Doves’ debut album “Lost Souls” could have been very different…


The conversation took place back in 2016 when the band were on hiatus. Jimi having released solo album “Odludek” in 2014; and the Williams twins forming Black Rivers with an album released in 2015.

It was during one of our famous Twitter playlists we had selected the track “Darker” for inclusion. It is not uncommon for Doves’ official feed to respond to our efforts – they are fans of Prefab Sprout, apparently.

If you haven’t heard “Darker” before, it’s exactly what it says on the tin. A moody song with a rumbling undertone like dark clouds moving in from the East. Jimi’s vocals sound almost distracted like he is trying to escape from being cast under a spell. But like most Doves music there is light at the end of the tunnel and the song closes with lyrics of love backed by an uplifting melody…


The song originally appeared as a bonus track on the original US pressing of “Lost Souls” in April 2000. On this fateful day it seems Jez was logged in for administration on the official Black Rivers feed and replied to our tweet, suggesting an alternative tracklisting for their brilliant debut album:


In our exchange Jez goes as far as saying it could have replaced one of Doves most famous, most successful chart-performing singles:


It’s a curious thought and one I can reason with (sort of). It’s obvious given the titles of the two tracks in question. “Catch The Sun” is the light in what is quite a dark album. A Mercury Music Prize nominated album, no less.

It might be wrong to suggest but you can hear similarities in the track “This Time I’m Not Wrong”; Sub Sub’s collaboration with New Order lead singer Bernard Sumner:

“Catch The Sun” even closes with the same guitar strings and fade. Would it be a stretch to suggest the band felt like they were covering old ground? They’ve always insisted on evolving with each new release.


Upon reflection, there is an argument for change, but I would still disagree. I love “Catch The Sun”! It’s a beautiful track that introduced me to the band. I still remember my older sister handing me “Lost Souls” along with Elbow‘s “Asleep In The Back” to listen to during A Level revision. She told me specifically to listen to “Catch The Sun”, knowing my young ears needed that pop-ier sound as a way into the world of Doves. And she was right. I never looked back…

And what’s more, “Darker” did have it’s day on “Lost Sides”, the b-sides and rarities collection. That’s the beauty of such an album. So don’t feel bad for this wonderful track. Yes, it would sit nicely included on “Lost Souls”, of that there is no doubt.

But how can you improve on perfection?

Read our exclusive interview with Doves’ Jez Williams back in 2020.