(22 June 2003) Dor Lata is not a typical New Yorker nor is she a typical New York musician. On the heels of her stunning track "The Spy" featured in the Skipping Discs Love Her Madly collection (review) Dor has released her debut album. A collection of ten alternative singer songwriter tracks, the material on Different Life (Dor Lata (USA) DL0902, 2003) spans pop and rock.
Dor Lata brings an acclaimed East-European style to catchy, melody and lyrically meaningful pop and rock songs. Though Dor was classically educated (interview) and studied formal opera training while growing up in Poland, she maintained a strong connection throughout her teenage years to the soul, R*B and rock in the U.S. and U.K. After completing her schooling, Dor performed on the road touring for three years throughout Europe and Canada. She settled in New York City in 1990 and recently became a US citizen. She continues to maintain an important connection to her musical and cultural heritage in Poland and the Polish community in NYC.
Different Life is clearly a solo album. Dor contributes all lead vocals and we are assuming guitar parts as well. The other musicians' contributions are not clear from the album's artwork. Nevertheless the material is professionally recorded and very well produced. The album opens with an upbeat bluesy-edged rock track "Hypnotize Me" with a strong hook. We thought of Michelle Young's work several times when listening to it. The title track, "I'm Different Now," is an accessible light rocker, again with a strong hook. Dor's powerful soaring lead vocal is supported by lush harmony layers. The verse/chorus structure perfectly suits the evocative track "Love Would Never Leave Me" continues to illustrate Dor's vocal virtuousity.
"The Only One" is the album's first ballad. Accompanied by acoustic and electric guitar and light percussion it highlights the range of Dor's sensual voice. "Stay" is a tender and the gentlest ballad sung primarily over acoustic guitar with everso light keyboard and percussion joining as the song develops. "In Your Shadow" is a dramatic number with effects and Dor's powerfully emotional delivery contributing to the sensitivity of the lyrical content.
We especially enjoyed "I'll Be Alright," a powerfully arranged guitar-laced rock track. Dor's lead is perfectly supported by instrumentals and light harmony layers. The Polish version "Mam Tego Dosc" is equally superb! The guitar work in both is most notable. Crisp percussion underscores Dor's crystalline vocal texture in "Prophecy." Again the guitar work is superb. The gentle rocker "Innocent Days" features the rhythm section with crisp percussion and powerful bass driving the tune. Lush pop-style harmony vocals contribute to a great sound.
In addition to soundbites, videos and further photographs are available at the artist's website. Dor Lata's debut album should be explored further. The album can be obtained through the artist's website and other online retailers. Worthy of a trans-Atlantic journey, we think it is a must listen!