Doris Henson's CD Give Me All Your Money--Give This Band Your $15
J. Gordon
7/4/2005 9:59:30 PM

Ever since I caught the Kansas five-piece band, Doris Henson, opening for Trail of Dead last winter, I’ve been smitten. Maybe it’s the lush Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar layering (making them the perfect soon-to-be openers for Billy Corgan), their incredibly catchy choruses, or—surprise!—trombone that’s just so weirdly placed it’s an awesome, original complement. Overlooking that most memorable, energetic live show in St. Louis, I had to wonder if they could pull it off on CD. Fear not.

During this 80s music revival, Doris Henson has also jumped on the bandwagon, but only to the extent of borrowing the best and leaving outright imitation to current bands like The Killers and The Bravery. On this, their second CD, Give Me All Your Money [DeSoto Records], Doris Henson dips into every genre of popular music over the last forty years, yet they somehow grounded it in a hipness that feels current and original. The musicianship is tight, the album is well-produced without being overdone (or under-cooked), and there’s enough diversity among the songs to keep everything interesting, while providing enough continuity for the listener to know it’s the same (great) band.

Vocalist Matt Dunehoo ventures one moment into that 80s smooth territory a’la Depeche Mode, in songs like “Pollen Tom,” and then goes full-on indie with all the grit, apathy and disconnect of today in tracks like “A Dark Time For The Light Side Of The Earth.” The sound of Doris Henson is a successful marriage of post-punk and progressive pop, but songs like “Sidestepping,” hit the listener with an emotional wallop that leaves you feeling like something important has just taken place. You’ll want to spin it again and again. The closing track, “When You Go,” is another so beautiful it cuts deep--and twists hard enough to leave a scar.

Doris Henson’s lyrics are sometimes weird, often smart, mostly fun, and nearly impossible to forget before you start singing along. In the catchiest, liveliest song on the CD, “The Most,” Dunehoo chants, Do the most with what you have / Get the most from what you want before he demands, I want a lot! Whether Doris Henson gets everything they want is anyone’s guess. But listeners will get plenty for their money from Give Me All Your Money.

Read NT's interview with Doris Henson.


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