CD Review: Doris Brendel “The Last Adventure”

You know how it is in life, when we have a problem which we struggle to get a grip with or comprehend, we usually talk it through with a friend and get the perspective of another mind on the subject matter. This generally helps us understand by giving us another angle from which to view things, therefore expanding our viewpoint and enhancing the overall picture. Also, we all know and love the feeling that we get as we come across a new sound and discover a new band or artist. That incredible buzz as our synapses spring into life, awakening all of our senses.

Well, back in March, I wrote a feature on Doris Brendel and a couple of months after this I was sent a promotional copy of her forthcoming album, The Last Adventure, which will be released November 11. Up until this point I had listened to clips from each of the songs on The last Adventure, which are all on Doris Brendel’s website.  From this I had a fairly accurate idea of what to expect, but in all honesty, when the CD arrived and I played it for the first time boy, was I ever knocked for six. Some while on from this, that initial feeling has not changed one bit. On many occasions I have had guests in my home and during conversation I simply press play to set The Last Adventure going. On each occasion after several minutes of unrelated conversation my guests pause to look towards the CD player, they then completely forget the original subject matter and ask me many questions about what is being played. This album is a real stunner and engages the undivided attention of anybody who hears it, irrespective of their taste in music.

To quote Doris, the style of The Last Adventure is varied, covering rock, progressive rock, pop, funk and Celtic influences, often in the same song. The lyrics are similarly varied, covering some very contentious subjects down to the tongue-in-cheek ridiculous. Though much of the album has a retro feel about it, notably with hints of The Beatles, Cranberries and even The Violet Hour, more modern influences are evident too, such as Muse and Radiohead, who to me are two of the most innovative bands on the circuit.

Yes, this album has a vastly diverse and enormous range of influences, which are all blended into such a tight package. It is impossible to add a genre to this album, as it encompasses so many. Doris’s husky vocal style combined with such a rich and deep musical backdrop is just so pleasing to hear. Some fantastic flageolet additions are thrown in to entice the ears further and help to add a good touch of folk to the sound.

Every single element is honed to perfection or better, so richly driven. There are moments which would be possibly a tad harsh, yet they are delivered so well that they are more akin to a freshly made cappuccino. The froth of this gets backed and topped with some incredible backing vocals, which are easily on par with Floyds finest. Guitar-work and drums are both of the untouchable variety, along with the keyboards. All twelve songs are so masterful and arranged in such immaculate order.

I have always thought that perfection is a myth, it is just something to strive towards, but perhaps I have been wrong all this time, as his album is better than almost perfect.

Rating: 9.5 / 10

A select combination of musicians was used for this carefully and painstakingly prepared project. No sequencers or click tracks were used in the process, which has created a magnificent retro feel without any loss in quality in this digitally-controlled era. Much credit goes to all the players involved in The Last Adventure. Here is the list:

Doris Brendel – Lead Vocals, Backing vocals, Fiddle, Flageolet
Aitch McRobbie, Julie Harrington, Julie Winchester, Lynne Butler, Jo Maloney, Mark Dalton and Andre Harewood – Backing Vocals
Dave Beeson – Guitars, Backing Vocals, Production & Mixing
Mark Wesson – Keyboards
Steve Clark – Drums & Percussion

You can check Doris Brendel out at www.myspace.com/dbdiving

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