Not Exotic

This first full-length from Portland, Oregon’s Dolorean is an amazingly realized record. Knowing that the group began recording (with Chico ex-pat Larry Crane at his Jackpot! Studio) with the lofty goal of approximating the feel of albums such as Neil Young’s Harvest and The Band’s Big Pink, it’s chilling to hear how successfully they pulled it off. Slow and quiet, the blue-collar, Springsteen-like poetry of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Al James unfolds over a slow-moving train of a piano (tenderly guided by Jay Clarke) that the guitars, mandolins, cellos and understated snare climb on and off of as they please. James is singing from that crossroads where youthful passions and dreams are fighting the fade into real life. You can feel the once hopeful relationship in “Still Here with Me,” deteriorating into “Brown grass and peeling paint/dirty glass of lemonade.” And the bottom drops out completely on the slow waltz of the immaculate and tragic “Hannibal, Mo,” where the narrator “watched my true love get washed out to sea. … The river took her but it didn’t take me.” Dolorean appears Wed., Dec. 10, 7pm. at Fulcrum Records.