Open Your Eyes
By M.D. Spenser
Open Your Eyes is a lovely and inventive folk-pop album by an eight-piece British band called Dennis -- 11 songs marked by gentle horns, rich instrumentation and delightful vocal harmonies.
All the songs are originals, credited to the full band – and fine songs they are. Whoever is crafting them understands that many of the best songs are moods and moments rather than narratives; they ask questions rather answer them, and they wonder rather than declaim.
The song Give Me Soul, for example, has lyrics comprised of a mere 50 words, yet it evokes longing and need. And the lyrics to Leaving You Alone – sung over a danceable rhythm accented here and there by hand claps – are punctuated largely by question marks: ‘Lately I’ve been asking questions/Maybe I should be leaving you alone?’
Many of the songs are beautifully orchestrated. One of them, though – Talk For Hours – is a cappella but for hand claps and drums.
The song-writing, from the opening track to the final note, exhibits experience and control: A couple of the songs are less than two minutes long – and they are the more powerful for it.
Most of these songs sound entirely new yet immediately familiar. They are about desire, about doubt, about hope.
Hometown, the final number in the set, speaks of being well-grounded. ‘I really love my hometown,’ the lyrics go, ‘I really love the way we keep hanging around/I really love the way it makes me stay.’ The song refers no doubt to someplace in County Durham, a good 270 miles north of London, where the band is from.
For music-lovers whose tastes encompass diversity, this album is a gem. I hope the band members are all getting along because we need to hear more from Dennis. What a find.