The Universal Want

Doves - The Universal Want
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2020 Ratings: #106 / 760
Year End Rank: #33
User Score
Based on 229 ratings
2020 Ratings: #339
Liked by 9 people
September 11, 2020 / Release Date
LP / Format
Heavenly / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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As with their previous four efforts, The Universal Want unfolds as a sonically immersive and lyrically engaging affair, its title emblematic of the album’s central thematic thread that explores our innate, lifelong yearning for a sense of fulfillment and purpose.


With their fifth album they're taking strength from sadness, hope from despair, and wisdom from experience. In troubled times, The Universal Want is exactly what we need.

Northern Transmissions

While we wouldn’t have wanted to have waited so long for a new Doves album, ‘The Universal Want’ is most definitely worth it.

Louder Than War
Doves return with a soaring anthemic album after an eleven year hiatus and it’s well worth the wait.
Q Magazine

This is heavy, yes, but it's never leaden... With The Universal Want - sad, wary, yet still alert to life's thwarted beauty - Doves are in the right place, the right time.

Regular producer Dan Austin teases atmosphere, buries mysterious sampled speech and navigates the piano-led title track bank into Hacienda territory. What kept them?
With fluidity and ease aplenty, the ten songs on ‘The Universal Want’ render a soulful, elevated journey visiting outer and inner locations, providing the listener with a sense of fulfilment.
It may have taken over a decade for Doves to pour their souls into ‘The Universal Want’ but if it turns out to be their final transmission, it will be a worthy closing chapter to their epic legacy.
The Arts Desk

Ultimately, “The Universal Want” is the sound of ideas synthesising, of conversations clicking.


For the most part The Universal Want lives up to that triumphant return presaged in Carousels.

Under The Radar

The Universal Want is a most welcome return from an important band given a well-deserved respite.

The Independent

New album The Universal Want manages to feel relevant, but not preachy.

The Guardian

The kings of catchy melancholia are back after a decade away – and their tried and tested blueprint has lost none of its magic.

The Line of Best Fit

Familiarity isn’t a bad thing when it’s done well, if we refer back to the four cycles of reformation, Doves land firmly in the bands who have their fire relit by a break category, The Universal Want is Doves in essential form.

The Telegraph

The Mancunian trio return, older but no happier, with a fifth album that luxuriates in its own mesmeric emotions.


Mournfulness can provide comfort at a time like this, especially when presented with the kind of sincerity, wisdom, and songwriting skill that Doves haven't lost in their time away.


Doves transcend time on The Universal Want, a graceful rebirth that not only justifies their reformation, but also serves as a reminder of the ability they had all along.

God Is in the TV

It sounds like the album Doves would’ve made if they hadn’t taken a break after 2009’s lovely, underrated Kingdom of Rust. It yearns and sparkles in all the right places.

Beats Per Minute

A collection of songs that feel like a natural next step left untapped following Kingdom of Rust in 2009.

No Ripcord
The Universal Want's strengths lie in a series of inspired moments rather than it coming together as a satisfying whole.

The Britrock survivors’ first album in 11 years is the sound of men in their 50s channeling the memories of their teens through the music of their 30s.

Rolling Stone
Doves amble as they surge, swirling in a middle distance between Radiohead and Coldplay.
Doves are back in a beautiful and experimental way: their indie sound is probably soon moving towards standards, but it presents itself as a rather unusual side of the band.
"Even though the British band’s fifth studio album is nostalgic and has songs that mix memories with the calm of the present and the yearning for the future, The Universal Want arrives as a weak album that looks like the mixture of several trends of the past decade. At various times, you can hear vocals that seem to try to do what Chris Martin did for Coldplay, mixes of guitars with synthesizers that seem to have been copied from some beginning teen indie band and samples that ... read more
Despite this album looking very intriguing with such an ominous cover and a thought-provoking title, this project is stuck in a vast sea of undercooked ideas. To start it was half unlistenable being that the vocals were a little too quiet for my liking compared to the instrumentals they are shoved behind. For what they were, much of the instrumentals lacked dynamic and consisted of too many common or reoccurring patterns. Instrumentally the drums sounded low quality and I can't say much else ... read more
Well finally...another 90! I truly believe this was an amazing fun Indie rock album. It's instrumentals feel so alive and full of wonder. I don't have much to say about this album besides saying its really fucking good! Hope people will check this out!

Edit: This is too fucking good.

Favorites: ALL OF THEM
A new Doves album was quite a surprise to see! And while it's no "Last Broadcast" it's got some of their classic sound with ethereal, quick hooks and interesting progressions. A welcome return!
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Year End Lists

#9/BBC Radio 6

Track List

  1. Carousels
  2. I Will Not Hide
  3. Broken Eyes
  4. For Tomorrow
  5. Cathedrals of the Mind
  6. Prisoners
  7. Cycle of Hurt
  8. Mother Silverlake
  9. Universal Want
  10. Forest House
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Added on: July 9, 2020