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Visiter by The Dodos

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Reviewed on 21st July 2008.



By The Dodos

The foundation of this San Francisco band are Meric Long, a country blues finger picking guitarist who has studied West African Ewe drumming and Logan Krueber an ex-experimental metal drummer. The Dodos break free from the sameness of instrumentation plaguing many bands and the duo have a certain vigour of their own which makes up for any missing members.

The overall sound reminded me of Animal Collective's earlier, more live recordings but more upbeat and vocal lead perhaps reminiscent of Ruby Suns or Panda Bear at times. They may have created a genre all on their own - power folk.

While at first The Dodos sound repetitive with a more prolonged listen this album charmed me with its trance / hyperactive psych like quality.

The whole album was based around basic drum and guitar takes recorded in a warehouse-sized room so "Visiter" captures the energy and intensity you can imagine from their live show.

The Dodos shift from two minute pop songs to seven minute more progressive songs. The album starts with "Walking" a dreamy, melodic banjo-based foot stomper with male/female duo vocals.

Much of this album I suspect was produced with more of an improvisatory / spontaneous touch. It is then stimulating that such a free-spirited soundscape can also produce a stand out sing-a-long track like "Fools". This ends with an odd brass interlude by guest trumpeter, Cory Gray and another is found after "It's that time again". It would be nice to hear much more of him in this album.

This is fundamentally a live album but with recording it has allowed The Dodos to experiment more with differing backing vocals, guitar sounds and the odd spooky synth part. Since this album they have acquired a keyboardist and perhaps in the future they will evolve into an even bigger band. One can only revel at the idea.

"Joes Waltz", in 3/4 enjoys background TV on the Radio-esque piano tinklings and demonstrates like the rest of the album an understanding of folk traditions. In other songs they explore blues, country and world music.

Another highlight, two thirds of the way through "The Season", Barbershop vocals lead to Futureheads "aah's" quickly into yelps and wild tribal babbles! The lyrics are well contemplated and contrasting. "I like the way you hold your head. If your brother knew, he'd have my head" shows a humorous side to The Dodos. "You pit us upon different sides / I wonder if you'll wait until oh no, oh no, this place will explode", a song aptly named God?



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