As much Pure Prairie League as Townes Van Zandt, Portland's Dolorean has spent the last five years finding the pop appeal lurking within the darker backwater of the folk-rock canon. Essentially the vehicle for singer/guitarist Al James, the group recently released Violence in the Snowy Fields, a collection of songs that settle on the senses like wheat chaff and late-summer dust. With a voice that recalls Joe Pernice at his most twang-prone, James knits harmonies, vibes, violin and organ into his tear-soaked fabric of rustled syllables and acoustic guitar. Violencewas made with the assistance of past and current members of American Music Club and the Standard -- which helps explain its delirious swings in mood and dynamic, from hushed and timid to gushing and magnificent. With a dream-inducing drawl, Dolorean blends country and indie into a ghostly, soft-focus blur of heartache.
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