When everything is retro it sometimes happens that you forget that there was much to admire in the music of the past. Things like strong songs, clever arrangements and rock solid vocal performances. Just the sort of things that Doris Brendel (perhaps best known as singer with 1990s alt-rockers The Violet Hour) brings to the table with her latest album “The Last Adventure”.
And this is a big album too. The songs punch hard and Ms Brendel blasts them out like a woman on a mission. In a way, she reminded me of Jenny Haan (of seventies rockers Babe Ruth) by the sheer presence and command that she shows. For example, “What Have I Done” isn’t the best song here but it still sounds like a winner in her hands. Not just a winner but an old friend too and much the same can be said of the standout – and rock radio friendly - title track “The Last Adventure”. A lot of modern music sticks to the same formula for the duration of an album but not here. All sorts of influences creep in to season the classic rock cake that Ms Brendel has baked. With that trademark huskiness in her voice as the icing on that very cake, Ms Brendel even throws in a bit of a Celtic spice to “Latest Fantasy” and you just can’t really get any more American apple pie than “Be My Guitar”.
I’ve got to add this as a sort of conclusion (or maybe a public service announcement?). The taxi drivers of the world can now listen to music that isn’t forty years old as they ply their trade through the night. That’s not the insult you might think either as this album is just about the most perfect mix of old fashioned musical values and electricity that you could imagine. People will be looking fondly back at this one in years to come and, as one of the songs here proclaims “I’m Not Old I’m Experienced”, I have to agree that Doris Brendel is a lady who doesn’t have a sell by date. Glorious!
Bluesbunny Album of the Month for November 2010.