Album, Single and EP Reviews


  Not Utopia by Doris Brendel & Lee Durham

Not Utopia cover art

Artist: Doris Brendel & Lee Durham
Title: Not Utopia
Catalogue Number: Sky Rocket Records SKY CD10
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2012

If you are going to sing rock music then you have to have the voice for it. Not some classically trained voice either but a worldly voice that is product of a life that has been lived. Doris Brendel has such a voice and, with the able assistance of Lee Durham, she harvests a variety of styles from rock through the ages within the four sonic walls of her album “Not Utopia”.

With a laconic charm, she powers herself up on the electro meets pomp rock of “No Lonely Girl” before cruising elegantly through the topically targeted but typically terse “EBay”.  Then she polishes dear old – she is so yesterday -Britney off with a no doubt deliberately lyrically trivial song “Going Out”.  It might be something of a throwaway but it is a sly one.

More what you would expect of a mature talent such as Ms Brendel is “Passionate Weekend”. That hint of a rasp in her voice adds to the impact making the song one that is right up her street and thus perhaps the strongest on this album. There is still time for a stylistic diversion however and the title track “Not Utopia” makes for Lady Gaga territory armed with the mighty stick of superior talent. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is also a civilised big ballad to tug at the strings of your epic heart and, equally unsurprisingly, Ms Brendel takes ownership of “Kind To Be Cruel” without as much as breaking sweat.

The secret to success for any rock singer – in my less than humble opinion anyway – is to possess a voice that can mix reality with grandeur. Doris Brendel, once again I might add, provides proof that she can do just that.

Review Date: June 19, 2012