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Doris Henson

The name and apparent penchant for Garrison Keillor notwithstanding, Doris Henson is not some bovine Minnesota hausfrau whose joys include needlepoint and passive-aggressive baking. Rather, Doris Henson comprises five young Kansas men who do the rock thing, and if Give Me All Your Money is representative of the Doris Henson experience, they do it rather well.

The album opens with "Pollen Tom," a soaring guitar-and-horns number that evokes Ambulance Ltd., a band belonging to the same school of new rock as Doris Henson: Sonic Youth guitars, Britpop lyricism, Pavement pop experimentation. These proclivities are born out by the rest of Money, and make for a pleasing, if not necessarily stirring, listen.

The interplay between guitar and trumpet is emphasized on "Big Future," softening the listener up nicely for the pummeling sucker punch. Throughout the album, there are hints of a tendency toward artful droning that hints at a slower Velvet Underground. But Doris Henson is full of surprises, and the lull component seems meant to starkly contrast power finishes of which the band seems fond. At times, it seems like singer Matt Dunehoo is cribbing the flat tonelessness of Paul Banks of Interpol (who is himself aping Ian Curtis of Joy Division), but at closer listen, it's clear that Dunehoo is merely singing as he should, which is naturally. And his fuller melodic range comes out on songs like "Dead Stars," a soaring guitar number with which the album is replete.

More by Curtis McCrary

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