If Dolorean has been lumped with other country folk-rock acts, that move was based on assumptions. Al James' (Dolorean's primary songwriter) lyrics and song-smithing have always elevated this group above the standard break up musings. Sure, Dolorean's songs deal with broken hearts, bad habits, and mundane circumstances, but unlike their contemporaries, Dolorean offers solutions and honest warning.
The Unfazed, Dolorean's new record, opens with "Thinskinned," a doozey of a song that's packed full of honey-drizzled harmonies, intricate drumming, clean cymbal work and hardy piano lines. It sets the album off on a trip with a full tank of gas, welcoming the next crucible that breaks momentum. During "These Slopes Gave Me Hope," James acknowledges confidence in the holy, designed natural world: "Towering trees, quicksilver streams and mountain lakes breaking man made gates." These 10 songs find the Portland band bringing their unfussy tendencies and hopeful outlooks on tough living with open arms - understanding you're either in a crisis or just leaving one.
In the past, Dolorean worked as a talented group of musicians giving Al James something beyond solo guitar recordings. The Unfazed is Dolorean evoking a band that discovered something special by taking a few years to themselves. While other country-folk-rock groups are consistently digging up tombs, knowing what they'll find, Dolorean is dependably repairing what's been exposed.
- Ethan Barrons