‘Mass Hysteria’ represents the fourth studio album from Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham, going back to 2012, yet this is our first review of the duo.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Doris Brendel And Lee Dunham
ALBUM: Mass Hysteria
LABEL: Sky Rocket Records
SERIAL: SKYCD25, SKYLP25
SPONSOR: Sky Rocket Records
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Doris Brendel – vocals * Lee Dunham – guitars * Ewan McIntosh – bass * Jacob Stoney – keyboards * Sam White – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Takes One To Know One * 02 It’s Never Too Late * 03 Mass Hysteria * 04 You Took My Breath Away * 05 You’re Everything * 06 It Can Only Get Better * 07 Other Side Of The Road * 08 Wrong Time Wrong Place * 09 Take Me To The Edge * 10 Hard Heart * 11 The People Are Gonna Rise Up
‘Mass Hysteria’ represents the fourth studio album by the British collaboration of Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham, going back to 2012, yet this is our first review of the duo. Doris has been reviewed previously courtesy of her 2010 solo album ‘The Last Adventure’, though she has been very active in recent years despite our written under-representation of her work.
Her musical partnership with guitarist Lee Dunham has produced music that could best be described as progressive pop, but it’s probably a bit more wide-ranging than that. You’ll certainly get a mixture of styles among the grooves, as it is proved on this latest effort. Let’s take a listen.
Kicking off with ‘Takes One To Know One’ is a very rock oriented intro, where Doris drives from the front with a husky vocal performance. No pop pretensions here, guitars and a full on rhythm section are on red alert. Slowing up to a sedate speed is ‘It’s Never Too Late’, a smokey and sultry affair that oozes character. The title track ‘Mass Hysteria’ is third-up, and it’s here where the jazzy lounge club meets prog-pop style comes to the fore, though it does contain a bit of musical spark to liven things up.
I do like the will-of-the-wisp ‘You Took My Breath Away’, with its gentle flowing melodies building a cloud like arrangement, the symphonic nature of the track with orchestration and a flute lead is a must-hear. Rolling percussion and insistent piano motifs dominate ‘You’re Everything’, with Doris singing all around and over the top of it, this track appeals greatly.
The acoustic led ‘It Can Only Get Better’ just shimmers in the melodic spotlight. It’s an easy on the ear tune, simplistic in structure, and catchy as heck. Another winner. ‘Other Side Of The Road’ has a bit of everything within. A celtic like intro, a classic rock like midsection thanks to Dunham’s guitarwork with well placed liquid synth intrusions colouring up the soundscape.
‘Wrong Time Wrong Place’ reverts to a harder style, though this is more apparent on the choruses. Check out the bizarre solo section for something different. Wow! I’m sure the song-title will resonate with some of you regarding the many choices made upon one’s life journey. Some choices perhaps not so good. ‘Take Me To The Edge’ straddles the ballad fence with Doris’ vocal bringing this one to life, though things do get excitable by solo time.
‘Hard Heart’ follows also as a song on the softer edge of mellow pop. This one is veritable ear-candy. The reverb effects are turned up for the album closer ‘The People Are Gonna Rise Up’. This is certainly a song-title for our current times of chaos. The song takes on an Eastern European flavour in places, it’s definitely an anthem for the people. Break out that bouzouki!
For me, this was a very entertaining album with lots to savour and return for repeat visits. It also begs the question why the other studio albums weren’t reviewed previously. I hope to fix that little glitch very soon. The duo and bandmates keep their music ring-fenced to the styles and genres that suit them the most, and you can hear how easy it is for them to deliver top quality tunes without batting an eyelid.
Please note, the CD edition features three extra tracks (total 11, all reviewed here) while the LP version contains just eight. If you are a follower of British based progressive pop, then put Brendel and Dunham’s name into your search engine and seek them out.
Mass Hysteria trailer