This is a review of "s/t" recorded by Dolores. The review was written by Gavin Miller in 2004.
Apparently I called these guys jazz in an earlier review, and they got a bit mad. So, I sit with the new full length offering from the band spinning on my computer (us kids don’t do CD players anymore y’know) with an open mind and my Miles Davis CDs as far away as possible...
Anyway, musically it’s a mixture of all sorts. There are funky breaks, heavily distorted guitars and sickly sweet vocals all mashed up together. It works well, as the album has that solidity to it that a lesser band would fail to gain.
In parts, it’s just plain scary. The guitar on ‘Who Is Dolores?’ feels like it’s being molested by someone with a fetish for making odd noises from guitars. It’s a claustrophobic, dark and very cinematic piece of 21st century paranoia.
Then they follow that with ‘Practically Unkind’, a funky exercise in upbeat pop. Bouncy and lively, it’s a million miles away from the Sonic Youth-isms of tracks like the moody opener ‘A Short Film about...’ and the downbeat dope smokers anthem of ‘Reykjavik 101’ (I think I landed this CD for that title alone...)
It would seem this is an album of two halves. ‘Carousel (film music)’ again toys with the album’s overall feel. Atmospheric and scantily clad in a bass-line and just a faint trace of endearingly kitch synth and fuzzed guitar, it’s really rather strange.
That bad man is doing bad things to his guitar again on ‘Without A Clue’, a sort of mix-up of funky-ish breaks and sultry crooning vocals, with a touch of crazy guitar lead thrown in.
The six minute ‘Al’s House’ is a bit excessive, as the track maybe could’ve done with some prudent editing, and the decision to end the album on the instrumental ‘Blur Blues’ is maybe a bit of a weird one, seeing as how they have some obviously talented players and singers, yet this feels like a sloppy jam. I bet it’s great live though.
Overall, this album is all over the place. Maybe some more focus could really accelerate Dolores into something very special. This, then, is the foundation, the building block of something exciting and original that is yet to come. But come it will. Trust me.