Wednesday, March 25, 2015

DORIS BRENDEL and LEE DUNHAM: "Upsidedownworld"

Rating: RR
Label: Sky Rocket Records 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

The Upside Down World is a strange little place where all the fuzzy Ozzies live? Nah. It's clearly not an ode to Australia. Dynamics, opposites, black vs white, which reflect our general attitude on music and visuals, the basic concept of the album. Eclectic as ever, the latest album by Doris Brendel (The Violet Hour) and  Lee Dunham (Primary Slave) goes through several different stages and layers of rock. As always, expect the unexpected and the swift change from basic stuff to nearly classical segments and the arty/prog/folk arrangements.

Opening track, "The Devil Closed The Door On Me", the lyrics has turned the cliché on its head, and according to Doz, 'most rock/metal songs sing about how bad the singer is and how in league with the Devil the band is. In this case I'm just too nice for the devil to be interested in me', end quote. Music-wise, the plain fun rock number driven by Lee's acca dacca-like guitar riff and Brendel's excellent singing voice. Not quite as complicated and out there as her usual stuff. "Adored", lovely harmonies and the dreamy grand piano art-rock flow with some heavy bass-lines in the background. "Slap Me and You Die", back to the heavier rock sound again and it's Skunk Anansie met Doris Brendel. Check out that chorus part and those marvelous harmonies again. Very catchy, very classy. The guitarmageddon of the middle bit is just an metal mayhem. The first three tracks are simply outstanding.

"Accessorize", not to my liking at all. "Tumbling Away", the simple upbeat drum and piano track with Brendel's voice at the centre of attention. This will remind you of Ethnic pop/rock, underground popular towards the end of the last century. "A Little Act Of Defiance", the grand epic track and the highlight of the album. Definitely proggy. The title track is your mellow bonfire folk met singer/songwriter sort of tune featuring harmonica. "Still Running", based on the basic formula and structure created by One Republic and recorded by everybody from your U.S. idol winner (Kelly Clarkson) to average joe, not eclectic enough? Too similar in style to all those lame idols and Top-20s? Closing track, "Life Is a Mushroom", the wacky 70's funk jam, that has that tongue in cheek retro-psychedelic quality whilst featuring great musicianship. I especially enjoy the short Reggae segment and groove, but it's really not the great "song" though.

Final verdict: A tiny step in the wrong direction in my humble opinion. Some of Brendel's best songs are on this record and sadly also some of the worst.

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