Con Dolore

Picture of Con Dolore

This Sad Movie

Con Dolore - This Sad Movie ©2001 Clairecords
1. Opening Theme
2. The 7th
3. She's Withering
4. She Said Goodbye
5. All Our Favorite Cats
6. Fractions Of A Second
7. Feed Us All
8. The Happy Girl
9. Dream
10. Unexpected Love
11. Why Are You Hiding?
12. Fractions Of A Second
13. This Sad Movie

In the rich, "shoegazing" style and tradition of Slowdive mixed with the dreampop and ethereal aspects of perhaps Love Spirals Downwards, Florida's Con Dolore has completely floored me with their new album, This Sad Movie. The album is tied together with a series of photographs depicting a couple perhaps in the throes of a sad breakup and the album acts as a "soundtrack", of sorts. Whatever the story behind the scenes, This Sad Movie is one of the most outstanding efforts I've heard in quite some time.

The band focuses on the talents of Kristy Moss and Ed Ballinger utilizing a bevy of instrumentation from keybaords, samples, piano, various percussion instruments and more. The result is a lush, extremely warm sound that also has the wealth of haunting songwriting and the ability to harness introspective emotion within it. The vocal harmonies between Ballinger and Moss is well developed and the backing music is constantly busy, yet never overshadowing any other aspect of the music. There is constantly an atmospheric, slightly ambient depth to the music that does remind me of the aforementioned Love Spirals Downwards. But for the most part, Con Dolore exists in the same realm as Slowdive, only less sedated. Songs such as "She Said Goodbye" or "All Our Favorite Cats" have an immensely infectious sound, resulting in songs being stuck in your head long after they are played.

Ever since receiving this CD, it has been on a nearly constant rotation in my CD playing time. Fans of Projekt Records styled music, "shoegazing" music and atmospheric, contemplative rock in general are highly advised to keep an eye out for Con Dolore. This Sad Movie is one of the highlights of 2001.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2001

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Sailor's Warning

Con Dolore - Sailor's Warning ©2003 Clairecords
1. Intro
2. Your Ways
3. A Snowy 3 Miles
4. Are You Still There
5. Faces In Drapes
6. Intermission
7. Quietly And Still
8. A Giant Wave
9. Mutiny

Despite being quite thrilled to have another Con Dolore release in my sweaty, rapidly-approaching-thirty-something hands, I was quite dismayed to learn Sailor's Warning is to be the band's final release. According to information I gleened while spying on various communist countries, the three members split, with Kristy Moss baking cakes (I accept deliveries, by the way) and Ed Ballinger and Wes Snowden both moving far away to pursue other activites. A real shame, if you ask me, since Con Dolore has such a moving, striking sound that not too many other bands have captured. But on the plus side, they did leave us with a pair of excellent CDs.

Sailor's Warning essentially picks up right where 2001's fantastic This Sad Movie left off. The band doesn't discard the sound that made their previous CD such a treat to experience. Although Con Dolore exhibits many of the characteristics of dreampop/shoegazer music, they are a little less dejected and a bit more perky in their approach. Kristy Moss' vocals are delicate yet not so precious that you feel as though they might shatter if you turn up the volume. The musical stage setting created by Ballinger and Snowden is involved and arranged quite neatly. Although there is a sense of despondency and more appropriately, anxious anticipation, throughout the CD, Sailor's Warning never becomes an exercise in digging one's toe into the dirt while looking away from everyone. The statement by the band is, "Yeah, we have some emotions we're dealing with here, but hey, at least we're dealing."

While This Sad Movie's encompassing theme may have made it a slightly more complete package, Sailor's Warning is an apt, comforting farewell from a band who I wish would have stuck around a bit longer. Con Dolore's music is extremely rich and enthralling. Without a doubt, both CDs are worth finding and keeping.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2003

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