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  Dead Horse Lounge
Artist: Dora 
Label: Madeline Records 
Length: 12 tracks

Creativity in music is a rarity these days. The genres of pop and rock have been so overcrowded that there is little room for originality. In such a climate, hearing a band like Dora is an exciting event.

Dora is an independent band from Memphis, Tennessee that is poised to soon break out. They have spent a few years on the local scene and gradually reached the level of creativity and talent that their first full-length Dead Horse Lounge showcases.

The musical sound of Dora rests somewhere in the realm of ambient/atmospheric rock. At times, they may remind the listener of influences as diverse as Radiohead and Denison Marrs. Dora has a unique sound all their own and it definitely works.

The keyboards/synths lay down the atmosphere that the rest of the album builds on. The success of the sound comes from providing atmosphere and then turning it into an (at times heavy) anthem, complete with distorted guitar and skilled drumming. This formula is never proven wrong throughout the album.

The band's lyrics provide plenty of emotion to fit the music like a glove. The lyrics also provide vivid imagery. The album closer "Miss America" is a good example of this: "Sister stares alone into a TV screen and promises her love to electric memories." "Intro Song," the strongest cut from the album, laments love lost: "And it's harder now without you. With all these dreams I can't fulfill. When my sleep is just a symptom and dreams don't seem real. Of all the burdens you would carry, the regrets you have in me. But I'm sorry for not being all that you need. Though I fall apart here in this world of ways and means, just because we didn't make it doesn't mean nothing. So take your share of memories and I'll take my share of grief. Though I know it doesn't matter, I loved you here with me."

It is hard to believe that an independent band could pull off such a standout release. Even without its independent tag, Dead Horse Lounge stands out as one of the best albums (especially unheard of) for 2002.

Trae Cadenhead 1/12/2003

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