I was first introduced to Dolorean in 2008 through a song of theirs called “Heather Remind Me How This Ends” that I used to bookend one of the saddest, most bleeding-heart mix CDs I’ve ever made.
Here’s a free relationship tip: Don’t do that.
Not to be confused with the danceable Spanish band from Ibiza named after 1985′s most bitchin time machine, Dolorean is from Portland, has at times served as Damien Jurado’s backing band, and released four records in their own right. I keep track of which band is which by remembering the Spanish word for sadness, dolor, and then listening to the record — and all things flow accordingly.
Out now on Partisan Records, The Unfazed is not a sad record, per se, but it is deeply wistful and bittersweet, and in that richness there is a healthy wash of beauty. Man, listen to this:
Country Clutter – Dolorean
It is a complex, richly gorgeous album of melancholy and ache. Al James’s voice soars with a vulnerable, incisive timbre that cuts right into me. I’ve played it on the stereo for friends when they come over, and the comments I get are often equal parts Ryan Adams/Heartbreaker and Blind Pilot’s smoky, multi-hued, string-laden beauty. This is a marvelous record, front to back.
Just like the album cover marries “high art” with the impassioned graffiti scrawls of our most base desires, this is an album of knowing better, but doing anyways:
I give you tumbleweed nights / I know it ain’t right
to pass through your sheets as I please
It’s just a life of excuse / when you don’t have to choose
the direction, the speed, or the breeze
Even fools have needs.
[from the song "Fools Gold Ring"]
I agree with the Willamette Week review that called 2007′s You Can’t Win “one of the best albums to ever come out of [Portland],” and the new record gives that a fair run for its money. I foresee this being one of my favorite albums of the year.