The Dodos – Visiter

The Dodos

So what’s the deal with so many indie bands squeezing in antiquated and otherworldly influences into their music? Maybe it’s just that in our day and age, where so much music is deemed as derivative and/or insipid, it’s just too hard to find that fresh, new sound. What The Dodos, duo Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, do on their first official release, Visiter, is nothing strikingly new. But what they have been able to do is combine all of their influences with liveliness and ingenuity that is, frankly, brilliant.

Long’s childlike but personal voice is a marvel on softer selections like “Winter.” With a descending, dreamy guitar line and Kroeber’s soft drumming, the lyrics about a lost love are poignant and heartfelt. When the horns come in, it’s musical heaven. “Red and Purple” features some of Kroeber’s best drumming as he delivers a syncopated rhythm creating the perfect counterpart to the song’s catchy and memorable melody as Long sings, “I know, that I am yours and you will be mine.”

A seven-minute song like “Joe’s Waltz” starts with a quiet beginning, before it grows into a bluesy explosion of guitar and intense drumming. The song crashes with toy piano, slide guitar, toms and so much more. Long and Kroeber shout and squeal, “You neeeeeeed help, you neeeeeeed help, you neeeeeeed help, you neeeeeeed help!” The tandem push and pull against each other, letting the music rip and roar all the way. And that’s only one song. There are thirteen other songs and they all have flashes of radiance.

These are songs that are crammed with wondrous ideas and every single one of them works. It’s simply stunning that only two people created the walls of sounds that are crafted on here. And even though they use entirely acoustic instruments, the sounds are full, dynamic and forceful. Long and Kroeber have an astounding ear for unforgettable melodies and hooks; to be succinct, Visiter is packed with them.

“It’s that Time Again,” which was written on the road, is a perfect segue into the bluesy stomp of “Paint the Rust.” And that’s just it, the great moments never let up on this terrific album. The next song, “Park Song” is a quite, hummable song that is an utter joy to sing. Long sings about a lazy day where he woke up too late, went back to sleep and then decided to head to the park by himself. It’s a perfect addition and fits snuggly before the album’s centerpiece, “Jodi.” With the guitar playing an arpeggio, before spreading the notes out, the drums jump in with a frenetic, relentless pace. The Dodos are able to create a true culmination of breathtaking sounds and those lyrics are affecting, “Jodi my dear, I’m sorry but I must disappear, I leave you with a song and a tear just please don’t wash away.”

All of the comparisons aside, this is an impeccable album. Every song on here is filled with its own outstanding moment and every other second is a second filled with staggering, excellent music. The Dodos have shaped and formed a superb blend of intricate drumming, remarkable acoustic guitar and touching vocals—this is truly something exceptional.