Album Cover
Not Exotic
Yep Roc
November 04, 2003


I want to be one of the very first people to use a contrived reference to the Back to the Future series in a review for newcomers Dolorean. Sure, the time-traveling car was spelled DeLorean but it's close enough. Damn, now I can only think about Doc exclaiming "1.21 Jigawatts!" Alright, onto the review. I don't want to try to segue from Back to the Future to an alt-country album so I'll just start a new paragraph.

See how tidy that was? Well, the band hails from Oregon, but their sound more closely resembles that of a rural southern folk outfit. Don't worry, they were very gracious enough to spare us the faux-twang that is so common in many alternative-country acts. I sorta liken the indie-turned-cowboy act to the yuppie-turned-hippie movement. Except where yuppies don outdoor wear and Birkenstocks, indie kids put on cowboy boots. And consequently lead singer/guitarist Al James does indeed sport the traditional cowboy boots. This, of course, isn't relevant, in fact let's get to the music:

The album's first track "Morningwatch," begins with a precious piano and strings intro that breaks into slow-paced guitar picking. James' vocals are honest and soft. Very often purveying a youthful and innocent demeanor. And this works well because the songwriting focuses on youth's newly acquainted experiences with adultery, love, ho-hum and there's death, don't worry. The attention paid to the details and subtlety in the song crafting is impressive in a debut album.

The album peaks with "The Light Behind My Head." The song is lifted and carried by the saloon room piano that interrupts the song as James' sings "Oft' times I love you quite cowardly but I still think it's love." The last portion of the album strikes hardest with "Sleeperhold" where James' slowly croons, "This is my body keep your stomachs full/This is my blood let's get drunk on soul." The songwriting is superb throughout; there is rarely a forced stanza. Dolorean describe themselves as being influenced by greats such as Neil Young, The Band, and Nick Drake. I would say the Drakian correlation is a bit off, but anyone taking queues from that late great folk-god is on the right path. This album won't be for everyone, of course. But if you get all worked up over Wilco/Uncle Tupelo, and the likes of Damien Jurado then you better pick this one up.

Jacob Daley

Track List

  1. Morningwatch
  2. Traded for Fire
  3. Jenny Place Your Bets
  4. The Light Behind My Head
  5. Still Here With Me
  6. So You're a Touring Band Now
  7. Sleeperhold
  8. Hannibal, MO
  9. Spoil Your Dawn