DOVES leaked an unreleased track... what happened next?

DOVES mark the long-awaited release of their fifth album with the new single: BROKEN EYES
Credit: Jon Shard

Bestowed by the kind words of critics and fans alike for the sonic restlessness shown on the new album, The Universal Want, Doves also showed their innovative side in promoting their work by ‘leaking’ the sheet music for the then-unreleased track, Forest House back in August. Now revealed as an atmospheric, acoustic-driven closer laced with ethereal, low-lying synth and a ghostly Jimi Goodwin vocal, did anyone come close?

Every version, good, not-so-bad and works of genius has now been collated on Doves’ official site at

A challenge to fans that, if they wanted to hear the track, they would have to play it themselves, the response to #dovesleak on social media has included a stroppy toddler interrupting a family effort and the pipes of both Liverpool Cathedral and Salford Cathedral’s organs warming to the sounds of the Manchester three-piece.

With the incentive of a signed The Universal Want Box Set AND Goodwin’s original vocals being added to their recording, fans with varying musical abilities, studio craft and enthusiasm have presented the band with plenty of entertainment and one or two moments of genius. Greeted with an occasional ‘colossal’ by Goodwin and multiple emoji’s of encouragement from the band’s official accounts, the decision as to who made the most inspiring, memorable or faithful version has been passed to the band’s fans, urged to decide by vote before the week is out.

Here are just five of the highlights of the #dovesleak versions:

“Mama, noooo!”

It was a family affair for @alexmayer269 but there was no way that the cute toddler was going to let Forest House reach a dramatic crescendo. The upright bass player went unhindered, but the hands at the piano didn’t stand a chance. Good effort, but perhaps over all too soon. Aw, cute!

Live from Liverpool Cathedral

Perhaps fitting for a band of Doves’ stature, and given that they had just premiered a track called Cathedrals Of The Mind, Liverpool Cathedral’s Organ Scholar, Dan Greenaway, had a great go at the track using the 10,268 pipes of the UK’s largest pipe organ. Shortly after, Anthony Hunt from Salford Cathedral joined the party.

James Holt becomes the one to beat…

By virtue of being the first out of the traps, Manchester-based musician James Holt became the entry to beat. As it turned out, Holts delicate, full and accomplished instrumentation pitches pretty close to the high-bar set by Doves and the original version they unveiled last week.

The Bedroom Synth Version

Without a string or skin in sight, Llion Robertson did away with analogue and was in early with an electronic version of Forest House that sets it in a world of bedroom electro and retro, 8-bit computer games, showing a completely new and unexpected side to Doves’ composition.

The cinematic newcomer…

Mysterious, new Twitter user @NSNSNSMusic arrived at the finishing line late in the day, but the expansive, piano-driven version of Forest House, with an entirely appropriate, fauna-related video, showed an impressive aptitude for capturing the low-lit drama of Doves’ intentions from the sheet music alone.

The title of the best #dovesleak version is to be decided in a nail-biting fan-vote-finale, concluding early next week.

Doves recently announced an extensive tour for next year, where Forest House and tracks from The Universal Want will be aired, alongside cherished Doves classics. The full list of dates announced so far for The Universal Want 2021 UK & Ireland Tour are as follows                      

  • Sun 21 Mar        Cardiff, University Great Hall
  • Mon 22 Mar      Bournemouth, O2 Academy
  • Tue 23 Mar        Norwich, UEA
  • Thu 25 Mar        Brighton, Brighton Dome
  • Fri 26 Mar          London, O2 Academy Brixton
  • Sat 27 Mar         London, O2 Academy Brixton
  • Mon 29 Mar      Bristol, O2 Academy
  • Tue 30 Mar        Birmingham, O2 Academy
  • Thu 1 Apr           Manchester, O2 Apollo – SOLD OUT
  • Fri 2 Apr             Nottingham, Rock City
  • Sat 3 Apr            Newcastle, O2 Academy
  • Mon 5 Apr         Liverpool, Eventim Olympia
  • Tue 6 Apr           Dublin, Olympia
  • Wed 7 Apr         Belfast, Limelight
  • Fri 9 Apr             Sheffield, O2 Academy
  • Sat 10 Apr          Glasgow, Barrowland – SOLD OUT
  • Sat 11 Apr          Glasgow, Barrowland
Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as hosting interviews for the weekly XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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