The Dodos – No Color

Rating: ★★★½ ·

The Dodos are a long way from where they were musically in 2008. What started as a duo of percussive madness faded to a more reigned in, and slightly boring effort, on Time to Die. With such a distinct and limited amount of sound producible with only a few members in a band, it seems like the only direction that The Dodos could go with No Color is backwards.

This revert to their old style of barely controlled chaos starts from the beginning with “Black Night,” but it isn’t exactly as rough as songs like “Fools.” Logan Kroeber starts things off with his furious drumming as always, and you can feel that this sound will build up to something great when Meric Long steps in with his strong, yet tinted with a tiny shred of whine, vocals. This song starts the album out right; a step back from too much production, but not a setback in the quality of the song. They continue this walk down percussive and rhythmic lane for the first three songs, which takes up a large chunk of this simple nine-track album, which is definitely something that I wanted to see.

On “Sleep,” the presence of Neko Case is especially apparent; her simple role in background vocals alters the very nature of the song. She takes what would have been just an ordinary song from this group and adds the icing on the cake, if you will, making something already desirable and good into something grand. While I wouldn’t think that I would enjoy the song with a lot of instruments from this group, it works surprisingly well. Normally what seems most effective for The Dodos is simplicity, but on this pretty little number the layers of instruments, a bit more depth to the vocals with the addition of Neko, and the overall contrast in complexity makes this a sure standout track.

A little later comes “When Will You Go,” which feels more like a pop tune than that of their traditional tunes at first—the drums feel far away, while the guitar is precise and tight. There isn’t the general feeling of about to spin out of control, or that climactic ferocity, but it’s an interesting spin for the group. Yes, the drums and guitars kick up toward the end, but it’s still a good knock at a solid poppier sounding tune, if that’s where they were trying to go.

After “Don’t Stop,” rounds out No Color with some intricate drums and then a final resounding beat, you feel pretty satisfied. There are certainly some weak places here and there, but for the most part, The Dodos have managed to entertain once again with their zestful rambunctiousness.

2009 Top 50 Albums

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Creating a Top 50 Albums list is never easy.  You have to battle with what you think the world believes, and what you truly believe in your heart, to be solid jams.  We have even more trouble because we have to three writers, all who have different ideas, and we have to make those ideas fit into a neat box.  Well, we got it done, and honestly, our criteria was based on two things: how great we thought the album was, artistically speaking, and how long we listened to it without getting bored.  That’s it. It’s fool proof; you might not like it, but it’s our list, so here it is… Read more

The Dodos – Time To Die

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

Since you’ve already been introduced to the Dodos in the ACL Spotlight, I won’t waste any time with the bands history.  Time to Die is the bands second full length (both released on Frenchkiss Records), and initially it shared a lot of similarities with it’s predecessor, 2008’s Vister, but on repeated listens the familiarity wanes into something completely different.

On their debut the Dodos existed as a two piece and, per my experience, two piece bands tend to have a certain something that sets them apart from larger groups. Some would say it’s sloppiness, and I would I agree that there is a looser sound when it is coming from such a small outfit, but I would also argue that, in a two man band, there exists an earnestness that sometimes eludes bands with 3+ members.  When listening to Visiter you are listening to band trying to fill the space with their modest instruments and voices.  It was spectacular and exciting.

With Time to Die the Dodos have expanded to a three piece, filling out their sound with an extra percussionist.  This extra member doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of the band, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t change the bands sound.  Gone is the frenetic pace, guitarist/vocalist, Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber are no longer scrambling to fill out the space.  They have let themselves relax and in that relaxation came a fuller, more realized sound.  On tracks like ‘Small Deaths’, ‘Fables’, and ‘Acorn Factory’ we find a more mature Dodos, content on letting their songs unfold naturally rather than rushing them.  ‘Troll Nacht’ showcases the newest member, Keaton Snyder on the xylophone, and is probably one of the most well rounded tracks on Time to Die.

I am excited about what the Dodos will do in the future, and if Time to Die is any indication this is a band we should all be excited about.  Check them out at the LiveStrong Stage at ACL on Sunday, October 4th at 12:30 p.m.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/07-Troll-Nacht-1.mp3]

Download: The Dodos – Troll Nacht [MP3]

ACL Spotlight: The Dodos

dodosfeatureSo last year during ACL we worked our tails off trying to bring you guys the best interviews, spotlights, battles and all kinds of crazy lists.  We may still be a month out from the festival date but we thought it would be an appropriate time to start our spotlight feature on various ACL artists that we like.  Our first spotlight goes to The Dodos and is taken on by our newest addition to ATH, mwiliamrice.  So follow the jump for our first ACL feature on The Dodos.

Read more

New Music From The Dodos

the-dodosWe’ve long been fans of The Dodos as evidenced by their spot in our 2008 top album’s post, so we are of course excited about their forthcoming album.  Apparently the band has had some trouble with the album leaking online, so they went on and made it available to stream in full from their websiteTime to Die will be available digitally on July 28th and physical copies are in stores September 15th via French Kiss Records.  We’ve also got first single from the album, “Fables” below.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/dodos-fables.mp3]

Download: The Dodos – Fables [MP3]