Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Dodos - Time to Die

Pulsating syncopation and scattered rhythms have always been the cornerstone of the Dodos’ music, a strangely attractive sonic device that sucks in the listener. Time to Die is no exception. Logan Kroeber’s frenetic drumbeats guide the jagged finger picking of vocalist/guitarist Meric Long. This time, however, the duo has added a third member; Keaton Snyder laces electric vibraphone into many of the songs. The additional instrument doesn’t really change the Dodos’ fundamental sound, but the songwriting has evolved. 2008’s Visiter captured a visceral primitiveness, while Time to Die has a more polished, grander sound. This might be partly attributed to Phil Ek (producer to Fleet Foxes and the Shins), who sat behind the boards on the session. Unfortunately, the vibrancy and urgency that makes the Dodos such a force of nature seems to be missing from many of the songs. “Fables” sticks to a basic thump-a-thump-thump throb, and “Acorn Factory” is a pretty but forgettable tune. Textural energy still shines through in “This is a Business,” where feverish drumming builds and abruptly stops, only to come back to life furiously. Long’s layered harmonies and classical guitar picking are still intriguing, but the band’s missing arrhythmic pulse leaves something to be desired.

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