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Little Dove are a relatively new duo from Los Angeles, California, consisting of just Vanja James on guitar/vocals and Dylan Cooper on percussion. I refrain from using the word 'drums' as this is no conventional sticksman we're talking about here; rather, Dylan uses what is, effectively, a homemade kit. And it's been captured in all its expedient glory with a distinctly unpretentious, lo-fi production on their eponymously titled debut album. Likewise for Vanja's fuzzily distorted guitar. Thus, the backbone of their music, while minimalist in constitution, production and overall sound, and indubitably an antithesis to the over-produced, clinical sonics of a modern-day Pro Tools polish, is actually a refreshing blast of organically conceived and executed music. Where the album genuinely shines, though, is in Vanja's remarkably powerful voice.

So, what are we dealing with style-wise? Comparisons to The White Stripes are abound throughout previous reviews of this duo and, although there are marginal similarities, for me, that's about as redundant a comparison as likening Little Dove to Winnebago Deal, the UK two-piece. It's ultimately a journalistically lazy comparison by equating bands of minimal constitution to each other, and one that undermines Little Dove's creative individuality. The band, themselves, have quite simply opted to describe their style as rock/indie on their Facebook page although, as with all umbrella genre tags, it unjustly simplifies Little Dove's musical stylings. Generic they are not.

The actual music, while largely adhering to gritty, punk-edged garage rock is elevated way above the simplicity of its foundations by Vanja's incredible vocals. With a wide-range, she has power at both the low and high ends of her voice. In terms of tonality, it has blues, rock, punk and soulful qualities... often simultaneously; an amalgam of styles, but idiomatically her own. And, most importantly, the profundity of emotion she's able to convey is astonishing, and strikes a chord in the very core of my being. It's difficult not to be moved by singing with so much affectively compelling depth.

At present, Little Dove remain an unsigned act although, based on the strength of their debut, that can surely be just an ephemeral status. And with their recent acquisition of booking/management in the UK and mainland Europe (hence last year's album is being promoted afresh in 2014), I predict this talented duo will soon become a globally successful phenomenon. They certainly have the potential for such. Let's just hope that, with any future label backing and record deals, they're able to maintain the raw, organic aesthetic that makes them such a refreshing listen at the moment.
Review by Mark Holmes
1) Eyes
2) Misery
3) White Lies
4) Say Go
5) Into the Ground
6) Sink Ships
7) In My Bones
8) Not the One
9) Lions Den
10) When the War Comes
11) Let Me Fall
"...a refreshing blast of organically conceived and executed music. Where the album genuinely shines, though, is in Vanja's remarkably powerful voice."