Chris Dorman, Sita | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Chris Dorman, Sita 

Album Review


(Self-released, CD, digital download)

It took me a while to get around to Chris Dorman’s most recent record, Sita. Released in late 2010, it’s been sitting on my desk for … well, you do the math. The songwriter moved to Vermont from Michigan relatively recently and, for one reason or another, I kept overlooking his album in my seemingly never-shrinking to-do pile. So before we dig in: Chris, I’m sorry, man. Sita is an intriguing gem of a record, long overdue for attention.

Dorman is a tough musician to pin down. You could file him under “folk” or, even less helpfully, “singer-songwriter.” But while those labels may work for iTunes — which has him somewhat egregiously under “alternative” — they don’t do much for us here. The thing is, dude’s kind of all over the place. In a good way. At times, he’s a fairly straightforward songwriter. Other times he’s bouncing around through sounds and styles, from art rock to indie folk to dreamily waltzing lullabies to — I’m not making this up — opera. But regardless of which sonic suit he dons, Dorman’s aesthetic is consistent, and his meandering approach somehow adds up to a splendid and cohesive whole.

Typically, this would be the part of the review where I attempt to give you a frame of reference, describing his sound by making comparisons to well-known artists. I know: It’s an overused music-scribe trick. But it can be helpful. That’s not the case here, though. I could tell you that “A Mind Full” kind of reminded me of early Felice Brothers, that “Miss Muse” made me think of Ezra Furman in his quieter moments, or perhaps Clem Snide’s Eef Barzelay. I could tell you that the aforementioned operatic track, “All You Are,” bears shades of Antony and the Johnsons. I could even point out that, on his website, Dorman was compared to Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. I’d then tell you that’s ridiculous. He doesn’t remotely sound like Vedder. But where does that leave us? I’ve just compared the guy to a bunch of artists who share few, if any, similarities. Some help I am, right?

So how about this? Chris Dorman sounds like Chris Dorman, a profoundly talented and ambitious songwriter who is something of a sonic chameleon. And Sita is as unpredictable as it is fascinating and rewarding, regardless of how you categorize it. And the next time a Dorman record comes across this desk, it won’t sit for long.

Chris Dorman plays the ½ Lounge in Burlington this Saturday, May 26.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox... more


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation