Back in 2010 Doris Brendel released The Last Adventure, this is still a stunning album in so many ways and I am thankful to say that it was far from the last musical adventure for Doris. Not Utopia was released on the first of July. Doris teamed up with producer/guitarist Lee Dunham and the result is this wondrous album which oozes such a wondrous variety of feelings and colour.
Doris has such a variety of styles that you never know what to expect next. Not Utopia does not disappoint. Listening to Not Utopia for the first time I was rather unsure what to make of it but I was drawn into the listening zone and certain of its sheer professional quality. Doris and Lee work so well together, their own individual influences combine and meld into an extremely special and individual sound. This album contains an eclectic and cohesive collection of songs which comprise the styles of rock, prog, and acoustic which are all blended so beautifully into ‘progressive pop’. Not Utopia pleases, tantalises and entices, stimulates and entertains from the beginning to end. Unlike its predecessor The Last Adventure which was recorded live, Not Utopia is a studio project recorded and produced by multi instrumentalist Lee Durham to an exceedingly high standard.
The physical copy of Not Utopia contains a sixteen page lyric and information booklet within its gatefold cover which provides a perfect package with some great imaginative cover art work. Not Utopia has twelve songs listed, these create a diverse musical journey as you listen to the album. The twelve tracks in the album cover happy and sad topics with a humorous angst ridden style while blending them into a joyful cocktail of sound and meaning. Starting with the heaviest track, ‘No Lonely Girl’ rubs shoulders with nu rock (Garbage/Evanescence), ‘Ebay’ is a quirky lyric driven sad and humorous ballad. ‘Going Out’ and ‘Not Utopia’ are more electronic modern blends of pop and rock with a hint of punk/new wave about them. ‘Beyond Words’ and ‘Kind To Be Cruel’ are recorded with acoustic instruments and string arrangements. ‘Conflicted’ and ‘Passionate Weekend’ are more progressive. The closing track, ‘ You’re So Not’ has another unlisted track which starts about four minutes after the end of it.
This album is well worth a listen and if you have not done so already then you really should check out the sounds and style of Doris Brendel. It really is hard to find fault with Not Utopia and it easily deserves a 9/10 rating.