Track Reviews: Hannah Dorman- Take Control/Save The Day


Hannah Dorman

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Take Control/Save The Day



9.4/10.0- 9.3/10.0


Take Control is available at:

Released: 1st March, 2015

Save The Day is available at:

Released: 15th March, 2015





HAVING just about ‘recovered’ from the (bombshell that was) Muse’s new single (Psycho)…

It suddenly dawned on me: I have heard this (song) before.  I love the band (especially their older/mid-career work) yet am a little ambivalent: Psycho sounds (like a retread of) Uprising- their lead-off track from (their 2009 album, The Resistance).  There is that (same bounce intoxicating) bounce: similar riffs; plenty of spunk-cum-grit- with added expletives.   There is no denying Psycho is a beautiful thing: a hard-arsed and heavy kick to the teeth; an intro. That borrows into the brain- a track that demands fist-pumping and vermillion rage.  Among its primeval (and political) swagger, there are some ‘drawbacks’: chief among them is its immobility.  In trying to ‘recreate their best days’ they have, rather concerning, replicated them- rather than evolved naturally.   Critics (and reviewers) have noted- with regards the track- some of its ‘cheesier’ lyrics (phrases like “your ass is mine” appear); the rederivation (of their past work) – the all-too-familiar bombast.  That all said (it sounds like a critical backlash): I love the song.  It is a granite boulder to the face; a much-needed re-injection of British Rock (Royal Blood can’t do all the work?).  In the ‘new music realm’ (these kind of moments) come in different forms.  Solo artists have impressed me lately: their determination and sounds are some of the most fascinating (being introduced into music).  Perhaps their majesty does not emanate from a hellacious riff: moreover a delicate vocal; an inspiring lyric.  In the U.K., we are spoiled for choice: the new solo artists coming through offer much variation, spice and wonder.  Most of the ‘best and brightest’ are coming from the larger cities- Manchester, Leeds, London etc.- 2015 will see that change.  Over the past few weeks, I have been rather uplifted: many of my music (online contacts) are coming up the ranks- and hitting their stride.  Surrey’s Chess (Fran Galea), Emma Stevens and Elena Ramona (are all making big plans) – showing the music world what they are made of.  It is heartening and humbling to see: the young crop gaining momentum and leverage.  Too much focus is paid to the ‘stars’ and big names: those we are all (over-) familiar with.  Last year was a rather mediocre one- with regards mainstream music- so eyes are casting their sights farther afield.  Now so (more than ever), new musicians are in vogue– and getting their chance to grab attention.  I am always looking around for a new sound- moments of accidental beauty- something quite stunning (it can be a hard task in new music at the best of times).  The new, young females (18-25) are leading the charge: producing finer- and stronger material- than their male counterparts.  Their words (and lyrics) seem more original; their voices more distinct (and less homogenised) – their compositions richer, (more) varied; more nuanced.  My featured artist is making herself heard…

Title Here

Dorman has been keeping busy (as of late).  In addition to perform (around Surrey and London), she has recorded two new videos (to be reviewed anon).  The first time I experienced Dorman was when her E.P. (Words) was released.  Impressed by the ambition and originality (of the release), I was compelled: determined to seek out (more of her music).  Many critics (and radio stations) have been stunned by Dorman’s sound: a young artist touching Country-Rock with such conviction and flair.  So many contemporaries tend to veer towards Pop/Soul: few investigate Country and take on this genre.  Dorman does not merely ‘dabble’ with the genres: you can tell how much she loves them; how much they mean to her.  Before I continue, let me introduce (Dorman) to you:

British Country Rock singer songwriter Hannah Dorman brings her unique style to the genre. With the emphasis on pop rock, there’s a dusting of country to be heard in all her songs. Lyrically mature, honest and relatable, Hannah delivers her songs with her distinct raw vocal power and a personable presence. This dedicated singer will draw you in with catchy melodies and a driven rhythm section.
Her inspiration and eclectic influences are not obvious but some give resonance to her music. With KT Tunstall as her main influence, Anastasia, Shania Twain, Pretty Reckless and Kelly Clarkson all have their place

There are a lot of female artists on the scene: many have a similar sound and sense of identity (or lack thereof).  Dorman is one of few artists that are doing things differently: taking the effort to be bold; taking on a sound that few others attempt.  This ingenuity and passion has resulted in serious plaudits: her fan numbers are swelling; fond reviews have poured in.  The coming months are sure to be exciting ones: the young artist (surely will be planning) for big things; perhaps a new record.  The momentum- Dorman is gaining at present- has seen her social media fan-base grow- many new listeners and supporters are coming in.  It will be exciting to see where she will go next: whether she moves to London; performs internationally- puts out an L.P.

Dorman’s current movements are impressive and hugely promising.  She has kept her distinct and true sound: the heroine sounds more assured and relaxed; stronger in her skin.  While Dorman’s previous work is filled with wonderful moments, her latest videos hint at fresh inspiration: her voice seems stronger (somehow); her intent and conviction (at an all-time high).  In assessing Dorman’s current development, it is worth looking back (at her previous work).  Rent This Space was unveiled a few months ago- it has been met with applause and fond regard.  It is not hard to see why (the song is so popular).  Those familiar (with Dorman’s sapling work) will find much to treasure.  The song begins with romantic swell: a woozy and heartfelt build occurs; the track grows in anticipation and pride.  Dorman’s strong and impassioned vocals steal the show: making each word and thought filled with conviction and emotion.  Backed by a stunning and tight (band performance), it is a terrific track.  Looking at regret and transitory passion: Dorman is merely (renting space in someone’s heart) and advises caution.  Scarred- by previous heartache and loss- it is clear she does not want to repeat events- and advises (here beau/subject) – of this fact.  One Thing (On Your Mind) was released a year ago: it is a song that shows Dorman at her most direct.  The song begins with crackle and stutter: it rolls and rollicks; judders and sways- keeping the listener on their toes.  Perhaps inspired by real-life events, Dorman is retracting the advances (of an overly-eager young man); pushing against a cloying longing.  Perhaps I have misinterpreted: it sounds like a track inspired by a specific subject (someone perhaps that has caused some pain and upheaval).  Not bogged down with mordent anger, the composition is fresh and alert; summery and breezy- packed with plenty of punch and gravel.  Complete with a contemporary vibe, the influence of Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson comes out- Dorman displays her distinct personality and skin (without sounding too much like anyone else).  Words was my first exposure the young artist: her stunning E.P. was packed with nuance, strength (and memorable moments).  In My Place boasts a catchy and instant introduction- it spares no time in lodging inside your mind.  Wordless vocals mix with dreamy sighs- Dorman is at her introspective best.  Thinking things will be better (with someone else in her place); there is a sense of regret: the song never feels overwhelmed or heavy-handed.  Maybe is a gentler and more sedate animal: a romantic song filled with longing.  Flowing wave-like, the song never lets go: Dorman herself will never cease.  Over the last two years, Dorman has grown as an artist.  Already a unique and stunning songwriter (from the earliest days), she has become more confident and distinct- she sounds (on her new tracks) bolder and sassier; stunning and sensual.  Her live performances- and impressive work-rate- has cemented her sound: her voice has grown stronger; her flair and passion emphasised.

Title Here

If you are unfamiliar with Dorman (and her body of work): a few of her ‘influences’ may fill the cracks.  Inspired by the U.K. Country-Rock of K.T. Tunstall, Dorman possesses a similar sass and conviction: that energy and multifarious songwriting.  Inspired by U.S. acts such as Shania Twain, The Pretty Reckless (and Kelly Clarkson), Dorman instills a little (of each) into her own sound.  When her songs are at their toughest, you can hear shades of The Pretty Reckless.  When (Dorman’s voice) rises and powers, suggestions of Clarkson come out.  Normally- in this section of the review- I expand on this point (why someone sounds like their idols) yet Dorman is quite different: it is very hard to compare her with anyone.  Only taking (the slightest essence) from each artist, Dorman is clearly her own woman: a songwriter indebted to nobody.  This distinction and originality has resonated with critics (and listeners) – and makes her songs so impressive.

Arriving fresh (and hot off) the press, Dorman’s latest songs have come to the fore- her first new material for a few months.  After performing around Surrey and London, Dorman has gained some fresh confidence and inspiration- Take Control bristles with vigour and directness.   Beginning with a Rock-infused introduction, the mood starts to come down: Dorman steps into the spotlight.  Elongating and stretching her voice, the messages coming through loud and clear.  Backed by her band cohorts, our heroine has some clear advice: if you want to do it for yourself (and keep in control), then it is within your reach.  Motivational and uplifting, this (inspiring coda) is supported by a passionate and soulful vocal- Dorman sounds rich and filled with intent.  As the song progresses, some doubts creep in: whether (the subject) is trying their hardest; truly alright.  Letting her voice hit (crystalline highs) and soar upwards, you get a real sense of imagery and story: imagining someone lacking that extra self-confidence; demure and reserved somewhat.  Whether- referring to a sweetheart or friend- there is some ambiguity within: whether a lover is not (as strong as they should be) or whether a friend doubts their potential.  Letting Dorman’s voice shine, the band provides ample support: the performance is consistently tight and strong.  Never encroaching into the mix, the boys ensure they drive the song forward (the percussion is particular noteworthy and punchy) – there is a clear bond and understanding (between the players).  Enraptured in her own tale, Dorman’s voice shine beautifully: switching between delicate swoon and belting highs; natural and genuine with each gear change.  The band (in this video) look at ease and fired-up: there is no sense of loose edges or nerves.  The simpatico and fraternal bond (they share with their sibling) results in an incredible performance: Dorman herself sounds- and looks- completely at ease (in front of the microphone).  When speaking of intentions- saying one thing yet doing another- there is a real longing in the vocal (as though Dorman has had her heart broken; been let down by someone).  Perhaps I am off the mark; it is clear there is a need for improvement (from her subject)- yet Dorman does not seem too concerned (whether they try harder; she seems determined to carry on regardless).  Making sure notes and lines (stick in the mind) the track- and chorus especially- is a catchy and swaying affair- mixing U.S. Country sunshine with British Rock granite.  That summer-cum-rain juxtaposition blends superbly: at one moment you are smiling widely; the next rooting for our heroine.  The track has a great sense of rhythm, movement and dynamic: going down to a soften kiss; building up to a fevered chant.  Towards the latter stages, Dorman keeps her focus clear: that chorus is re-injected and repeated- its messages designed to resonate and affect.  As the band whip up the decibels (for one last round) you find yourself longing (to repeat the song) – it has a sense of brevity and tease (in spite of it being nearly 4 minutes long).  Closest in tone (to songs like Rent This Space) Dorman sounds comfortable and assured when powering and soaring- expanding on the promise of her previous E.P.  Take Control has oomph and panache; that killer touch and sweet touch- topped off with a tight-knit (band performance) and stunning lead vocal.  Keep the language and lyrics direct and simple (yet complete with originality, depth and wisdom), Dorman is a wise head on young shoulders: someone who knows how to win a smile with as few words as possible.

In contrast to Take Control– and its deterministic motifs- Save The Day is a softer track (and reminds me of her Words-era work).  Keen to revisit her early days- yet showcase her galvanised conviction and confidence- the vocal is queen (once more).  Beginning with an acoustic-lead seduce, the song sees Dorman in reflective voice: asking (the song’s subject) why they need to escape; there is a lingering sense of trepidation and concern.  Once more elongating and hanging (her words), it is hard not be romanced by its power and longing- the vocal is dripping with honey and chocolate tones.  Building its structure and pace, the band come (more into) the fray- offering support and aural weight.  As Dorman looks around her- and a focal point who seems to be on their way- you sense some unease and disbelief.  Perhaps knowing all too well; when it comes (to the song’s subject) she will not believe “a word you say.”  Like its predecessor, Save The Day has a hint of mystery and autobiography: whether an ex-flame (or friend) is being assessed, it is hard to determine.  Whether the story is autobiographical, you cannot doubt the credentials of the vocal: truth and meaning come through in each line; the need to make a very real point.  Unlike a lot of her peers- who prefer to rush their songs; bury the vocal amidst a wave of guitars and sound- Dorman lets the track breathe and resonate.  The band (once more) keep everything in check; make sure the song progresses with intent- there is a sparseness that is to be commended.  Allowing her voice and words to shine brightest, you are allowed to get inside the song- the track almost pulls you into the studio (or in this case, has you watching the music video being filmed).  Proving she is nobody’s fool, our heroine is keen to be heard: she has been played before; had her trust abused- this is almost a cautionary tale.  The final seconds see the band infusing subtle little moves: electric guitar licks; some subtle percussion; sturdy- and guiding- bass notes- making sure everything is fluid and full-bodied (until the end).  Keen for the chorus (to be sung and remembered) it possessed a charm and sense of catchiness.  Once more (like Take Control), there is a mix of simplicity and depth: a knowledge and love of Country-Rock; delivered with an original and striking voice.

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Tomorrow (when my next review is up) I will be stepping away from the U.K. – circumnavigating the musical waters of Central America; taking my mind somewhere new.  Music reviewing gives me the chance to (metaphorically) travel: I always prefer keeping my feet (close to) home- discovering what local musicians are producing.  Dorman is a young and eager talent: somebody with plenty of potential.  Her natural beauty and charm (will help her massively); her innate talent is evident- she is a distinct and structured artist.  Too many singers- in terms of new music- mimic their idols: come across as second-rate sound-alike.  In a busy (and cut-throat) scramble, you need to be distinct- Dorman understands this.  Throughout this year, Dorman will be honing her craft: coming up with new sounds and planning her future.  On the evidence (of a duo of songs) I am deeply impressed: surely a shining star of the future?  Her music- and natural, incredible sound- is striking and memorable: the ‘small details’ really hit home.  So many musicians neglect social media- do not bother coming up with an official website.  Dorman’s (official site) is well-designed and clear: allowing new listeners an insight into her work, world- and social media outlets.  Put all this together- coupled with the fact she is young and creatively fertile- and you know (she will be making) big waves.  The corpulent demands of music-lovers put pressure on new acts- so many works their backsides off to impress.  Dorman has a refreshing sense of confidence and ease: few artists sound as assured and intimate.  For now we have (a selection of songs) to enjoy: it will not be long until E.P.s and albums are forthcoming- and a selection of high-profile gigs.  If Muse are struggling- to reinvent their sturdy wheels- then Dorman is an artist who will face (no such issue) – her mobility and wide-ranging talent is evident.  I shall conclude with a thought: that which concerns British music.  Our nation has always been at the forefront (when it comes to phenomenal music) alongside the U.S. – this is especially true of the new crop.  Bands have always (seemed to dominate) public attention- solo acts are starting to redress the balance.  If you are looking for artists (who are very much) a much-of-a-muchness- you have your options covered.  Those seeking something refreshing have to dig a little deeper: surrender to the fortuideness of social media/word-of-mouth.  With acts (like Dorman) coming through, I am less fearful- there are plenty of great artists (out there).  Dorman will not be thinking too far ahead (keeping her feet planted) yet she should be proud of her current output- it indicates a stunning and original voice.  Among the slew of (unoriginal and predictable) musicians, it is great to discover something distinct- that sticks in the memory.  Her evolution may be commencement, but one thing is clear…

HER particular brand of music is much in demand.




Follow Hannah Dorman:







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