Violence in the Snowy Fields

Sounding like a cross between timeless murder ballads and the crisply emotive chamber folk of Nick Drake, Dolorean's third album finds them deepening their subtle resolve. Built around the songs and singing of guitarist Al James, this Portland, Oregon quartet are no mere songwriter's showcase. They are the sound of a true band, a fact which can be witnessed by the continually evolving interplay amongst the sympathetically matched players. The songs offer orchestral details which are sometimes actual, as in "Dying in Time," but are also written into the fabric of the songs. Their sturdy chord structures and slowly revealed melodies are full of subtle tensions throughout. Beautiful on the surface, these songs are broader and deeper than many of the Americana contemporaries they're often erroneously pigeonholed with.

David Greenberger,