Mar 08 2007
If you like Mojave 3, Red House Painters, or Whiskeytown, the band Dolorean may appeal to you. Their recently released album, You Can’t Win, is slow-tempo, so if you are looking for a cheerer-upper, look elsewhere. Some songs on the album do not click that well for me, but there are others that are relaxing to listen to. I’ll tell you right off the bat, with a mellow album like this, you really have to be in the mood, or it could come off as boring. Al James, the leader of the quintet, states that he was in a rough place while writing and recording this album, and it’s impossible to miss that while listening. The first song on the 11- track album is also called You Can’t Win, and the song is solely a melody with James repeating the phrase ‘you can’t win.’ The album could have been an all out pity-party, and while it does express hardships, it doesn’t feel like he’s “kvetching” about how he can’t win, rather there is a sense of acceptance of that fact. The song Beachcomber Blues is one of the better tracks on the album, and reminds me a lot of Mojave 3’s work. You can hear Neil Young as an influence on the album, and in my opinion, some of the melodies remind me of those on Wilco’s yet to be released album, Sky Blue Sky. You might even compare his vocals to Ben Folds.
Dolorean formed in Silverton, OR, in 1999, after James collaborated with Jay Clarke(keyboard), playing some of James’ home recordings. Sudden Oak, the duo’s debut EP, appeared that same year, and Dolorean began performing around town. By 2001, Dolorean moved to Portland, at which time drummer Ben Nugent joined the band. Soon following came bass player James Adair. The band started recording their 2002 release Not Exotic, and were also performing poetry readings around Portland. In 2003, the band was picked up by Yep Rock Records, who they are still with.
You Can’t Win:
Bonus: Dolorean – To:Elliott From: Portland