Label: SkyRocket Records 2012
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Always remember to expect the unexpected when it comes to UK's Doris Brendel (vocals, flageolet, piano). And to be perfectly honest, that's the main reason to why we enjoy her music in the first place. Clearly different from the rest of the wags (kidding, she's not married to a footballer) and totally unafraid to experiment with musical styles and genres.
It's hard to pigeon-hole or categorise her latest project with the multi-talanted Lee Dunham (producer/musician). The compositions of "Not Utopia" are moody, emotional, catchy, fun, pompous, and I'd call it modern Art-Rock in lack of the definite description? In reality varied tastes and influences are jam-packed together and it's everything from Classic Rock, Celtic/folk-rock, 70's Pomp/Prog, Punk/Skunk Anansie, Beatle-esque pop. Thus why the simplicity and termology of "Art-Rock" and why not?
The former 'The Violet Hour' vocalist has improved a great deal as a songwriter for the past two albums. It's a remarkable and very positive change from the at times very dull early efforts. "Ebay" such a perfect little piano ballad with a message that goes straight to the heart. But almost every track is fun, hynotic, vulnerable, mesmerising, intresting. Unfortunately, the title track, also the worst song on display and the really boring acid/electro number with a v-e-r-y annoying refrain. Please skip this particular style and formula in the future. "Thank You" - imagine if Pink recorded a prog-ish tune. Born to an famed opera singing mother and ARTist (Iris) and famed classical pianist father (Alfred Brendel), Doris has always been connected to 'class' and real craftsmanship. However, 'Not Utopia' is clearly Doz' at her best alongside her previous record (The Last Adventure) and her bluesy vocals are simply outstanding throughout the record. Recommended to the open-minded music fan.