Doris Henson – Give Me All Your Money

Doris Henson
Give Me All Your Money

Apologies for quoting the movie most over-cited by white males ages 21 – 40, Fight Club, but sometimes modern music can seem like “a copy of a copy of a copy.” Innovation hasn’t been in style in a long, long time, and perhaps that not entirely bad, because the finest moments on Doris Henson’s sophomore release Give Me All Your Money are about as good as derivative gets. In fact, Doris Henson is so good at mimicking and merging genres that many of the songs on Give Me All Your Money sound like tunes you’ve likely heard before, but can’t compute when or where.

The object of Kansas City’s Doris Henson’s musical obsession is primarily anything from the land of Oliver Cromwell, Benny Hill, and Screaming Lord Sutch that’s been released within the last 30 or 40 years. From the buzzing opener, “Pollen Tom,” which sounds exactly like Oasis copying The Smiths lifting from The Kinks, to the conclusion, “When You Go,” that sounds like a lost Brian Eno classic, and all points in between, Doris Henson revels in the past glories of Brit superstars. But these guys (it’s a band, not a woman named Doris) do it so well that it’s pointless to complain. Just shrug your shoulders, smile, and have fun playing that “spot the influences” game music critics and record geeks enjoy so much.

Three Give Me All Your Money tracks in particular are pretty phenomenal and take a listener on a journey to an earlier era more eloquently than a Norman Rockwell painting: “A Dark Time for the Light of the Earth,” “Big Future,” and “Dead Stars.” “A Dark Time for the Light of the Earth” builds around a dizzying My Bloody Valentine-styled riff and lazy Jim Reid-esque vocals and would sound beautiful in the middle of a late night collegiate makeout session in a random dorm room circa 1989. “Big Future” is an intensely melodic horn-filled song that resembles the best work by a various assortment of 80s psych-inspired post-punkers like Teardrope Explodes and Echo & the Bunnymen, complete with the requisite detached vocals and angular guitar riffs.

“Dead Stars,” however, is the coup de grace of “imitation as art form.” Picture the stiff yet funky guitar work of Mick Ronson, the tight-ass rhythm section of T. Rex, the glorious monotone of Ian Curtis or Robert Smith, and classic glam-inspired sci-fi imagery all unleashed at once over six-minutes you have a Brit-worhipping masterpiece that would make Stanley Kubrick blush.

When listening to Doris Henson and the band’s fixation on British bands of yore, simply ignore all preconceived notions you may have had about artistic mimicry and take some advice from the pioneers of Brit-rock – “turn off your mind, relax, and float down stream.”