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Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Critic's Choice: New CDs"

Published: February 19, 2007

''You Can't Win'' (Yep Roc)
The first two syllables of Dolorean's name tell you an awful lot about this Portland, Ore., band. ''You Can't Win,'' its sumptuously draggy third album, consists of 11 songs by the singer and songwriter Al James. Each inhabits a climate of oddly contented despondency: Mr. James clearly isn't interested in feeling better, though he appreciates your concern.

''I can't seem to find anything to take my mind off you,'' he sighs in a standout track, ''Beachcomber Blues.'' He goes on to complain about sand in his shoe, emotional debris and ''these crashing waves of truth.'' Somehow he sounds neither precious nor self-pitying singing these lines over a background reminiscent of Southern California folk-rock. Emil Amos plays a few sparse guitar interjections. Life goes on. Nothing resolves.

The band's hazy-beautiful sound can suggest the Jayhawks or early Wilco, though there's a clearer connection to Neil Young. (Maybe too clear, judging by a sepia-tinted waltz called ''Buffalo Gal.'') And while Mr. James can spin a good tale as a lyricist, he strives for extreme concision here. In ''You Can't Win'' he repeats the title phrase as a mantra, in harmony with a few other voices. They sound dreamy and resigned, at peace with defeat. NATE CHINEN - The New York Times

"PLAYLIST; Elliott Smith's Legacy and Pink's Big Idea"

DOLOREAN -- This is the legacy of the late Elliott Smith: a generation of indie-rock songwriters, not much younger than he was, using their own ramshackle voices to sing their own stories of creeping sadness and fleeting joy. Alex James leads Dolorean, a band based in Portland, Ore., that began recording its beautiful debut album, ''Not Exotic,'' almost two years ago. (At first, the band distributed the disc on its own; last Tuesday, the independent label Yep Roc released the album nationwide.) The songs gesture at folk and country, but they do it quietly and slowly, as if hesitant to disturb Mr. James's delicate parables. And yet, despite the stillness, this is a wild, passionate album -- loves and lovers die, not always by accident. (KELEFA SANNEH) - The New York Times


The Unfazed (2010), You Can't Win (2007), Violence In The Snowy Fields (2004) Not Exotic (2003)



"The heart and soul of Dolorean are the chord changes from tension to resolution; from dark to light; and the singer's voice and lyrics create a mood of acceptance without despair or should I say disappointment without resignation."