The Dodos took a year off in-between their last two albums and made a few changes in the meantime. The vibraphonist is no longer part of the mix, although he still lends his talents to the album, but the Dodos went back to their original spastic formula this time around.
The only question after learning that is whether or not the change-back worked out for them. If you weren’t a fan of the third album “Time to Die”, then you’re probably saying yes. If you were a fan of “Time to Die”, you might be a bit upset, but you must realize that that was not the genuine Dodos. Going back to the original formula this time around means they’re back to a two piece, with the minimal set up of just drums and guitar (with some vibraphone again, and also some orchestral qualities here and there). Logan Kroeber still dominates the drum set while Meric Long feverishly strums away at his guitar, and their musical chemistry together is a huge part of this band and their unique sound. Only together can they create this stuff, which right away you would know it’s the Dodos.
The repetitious and rackety primal drumming of Kroeber drives songs furiously, and they’re minimal in the loudest way possible. Long has a guitar playing style that is his own, and when it’s paired with his distinctive vocals (which are equally delicate and freakish) you again know it’s the Dodos. The guitars usually switch back and forth somewhere between psych and folk, but almost always remain frantic and finger-picked at the most lethal speeds. Together these two elements are totally relentless and unsettling, but they rarely pack the same punch from anything that came from “Visiter”, which is what this album seems to be trying to recapture when it’s all said and done.
Most of the songs suffer sudden spastic changes, which is an element that made “Visiter” so special, illustrated best in songs like “Going Under” or “When Will You Go”. Neko Case provides the backing vocals for Long in some of the songs (“Don’t Try and Hide It”), which creates a nice warming element when they’re paired together. “Companions” features an awesome build up that keeps you guessing as the song plays out, but at the same time now you might figure out why this album doesn’t hit the same mark you know they’re capable of. Things seem less experimental in a song like this, but that’s not necessarily the case on the entire album.
One song that stands out is the album closer “Don’t Stop”. The guitar is played with so much energy and everything sounds so fast that it actually sounds messy, but in a good, eye-widening kind of way. This is a great place for the album to end up, but it’s kind of lame there wasn’t more to back this one up. You kind of get the vibe that there was some heavy experimentation that went down in this song, but maybe that’s just me. Now it’s time to see what you’ll think, because we’re leaving you with a few songs below.
Black Night –
Going Under –
Don’t Try and Hide It –
Don’t Stop –
My Rating: 7.2/10
Genre/ Tags: Folk Rock, Pop, Psychedelic
No Color: Tracklist:
1.) Black Night
2.) Going Under
5.) Don’t Try and Hide It
6.) When Will You Go
7.) Hunting Season
9.) Don’t Stop