Carousels

Album: The Universal Want (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • After touring and promotion of the band's compilation album The Places Between: The Best of Doves in 2010, Jez and Andy Williams and Jimi Goodwin announced they would be taking an indefinite hiatus. During their long break the trio both worked on their side projects: the Williams brothers as Black Rivers, while Goodwin released his first solo album, Odludek.

    The trio eventually came out of hiding when they performed a comeback show at the Royal Albert Hall in support for the Teenage Cancer Trust in March 2019. This jangly anthem, released on June 18, 2020, is The Doves' first new song in 11 years.
  • A groove-driven reflection on being young, this song finds Jimi Goodwin recalling childhood holidays in Harlech, North Wales.

    Oh, I'm gonna take you down
    Back to the old fairgrounds


    "'Carousels' is a really exciting track to come back with, especially now as it's shot through with a lot of hope," Goodwin told NME. "It calls back to going to the fair when you're a kid, dodging all the psychos and getting your waltzer money taken off you."
  • "Carousels" started life as a Black Rivers song, which at first they couldn't get to work. They put it down for a while, and then Jez Williams made another attempt during a creative trip to Porto, Portugal. He'd bought a breakbeat album by the late Nigerian percussionist Tony Allen, and the Doves guitarist sampled some breaks to pep up the track. After coming back to England, he made a demo of the song with his brother Andy.

    When the band first got back together in 2017, the Williams brothers played their demo to Jimi Goodwin. "I said straight away, 'We've got to work on that - it's too special to let slip though our fingers,'" Goodwin recalled to NME. "Tony Allen was the don daddy. He was an amazing musician and an amazing guy. I never met him, but you could tell how cool and passionate he was."
  • Andy Williams told Apple Music the song is a childhood remembrance of visiting the fun fair at Harlech in North Wales with his brother. "It's a nostalgic look back at that era when you used to hear music for the first time, loud, on loudspeakers, and that excitement at the fair - trying to recapture that feeling," he explained. "The music's trying to push it forward, but lyrically, it's looking back, so there's that juxtaposition."
  • The band co-produced The Universal Want album with their frequent collaborator Dan Austin.

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