Though recorded in bustling Manchester, dbh’s (who has performed live with Julie Byrne) third album is much more reminiscent of where it was mastered, in the Outer Hebrides. Instrumental folk guitar tracks with a deftness of touch, Mass is for exploring big empty spaces on the back of a donkey rather than trying to get the Christmas shopping done at the Arndale.
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Herein I bestow wintry delights unto your festive season. As if they’d been tipped off to the quickly-advancing December, the lower-case dbh made up their third record of acoustic instrumentals, offering the finger-picking and fret-sliding that makes them of such use as back-up for Kiran Leonard and Irma Vep. With the feeling of dozily crafted home recordings, ‘Mass’ is a lovely, light collection of spindly melodic lounging.
That’s it, really: keeping it simple, this record sees dbh traverse melodies that feel instantly recognisable, with hooks that sound referential but can never quite be pinpointed. Picking with a kindly reserve this record is perfect for a stray evening and a room for filling. Use your scarf as a blanket or for its intended purpose and spin this record in tow.
8/10 GordyB 4th December 2017
Mass is Manchester multi-instrumentalist dbh's third album. Guitar-based, Mass showcases his excellent picking talents on acoustic and electric guitars (and more). It's easy to spot the influence of the likes of Jansch, and Vini Reilly, but there's an originality to dbh's sound that makes Mass compelling listening. He's not afraid to blend in influences from elsewhere too, such as the raga-like passage on Light Pools, or the oriental streak that runs through Blues II.
The strings on Guitar Limb and Ghost of Eyeless add an extra dimension to the general sound, and the piano-led Hike adds an extra element of gravitas to proceedings. For sure, it isn't going to have you jumping around the room, but Mass is a really nice album that instils a sense of calming tranquility in the listener in these mad times. dbh is a real talent, and I'd love to see him collaborate with Michael Chapman, someone else who is always open to new ideas.
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