The Dodos make a lot of good noise for a small ensemble.
The relatively simply constructed ten songs on their new album 'Time To Die'
belie a canny and elusive compositional style. Big stuff from little things.
From relatively meagre instrumental resources ( Meric Long - Guitars,
Logan Kroeber - Percussion and Keaton Snyder - Vibraphone) the band
create an amazing array of different moods and musical textures.
The warm hippie-heaven opening of 'Small Deaths', with its delightfully
naive melody, chiming chords and lush vocal harmonies, opens a door
to a singularly magical musical landscape.
The impulse to pass through and join them on the journey is irresistible.
'Longform' with its driving rhythm and somewhat harder edge creates a
whirlwind of sound around the strong central vocal performance;
those dense close harmonies now becoming a distinctive and defining feature.
'The Strums' too manages to manufacture a massive sound from the
smallest compositional building blocks. The result here is magnificent.
A lovely tune segueing into a luminously magical central section full
of light and shade and exhilarating optimism.
The good-natured honesty of this music is never less than delightful.
The playful craziness of the spluttering opening to 'Two Medicines'
settles down quickly into one of the album's most powerful musical ideas.
The taut complexity of the arrangement is well-delivered by all concerned.
'Troll Nacht' is suffused with moonlight and a strange, almost Autumnal ambience.
'A Time To Die' is the haunting and very moving emotional axis of this fine album.
A darkly-shaded but ultimately uplifting song of which they can be proud.
'Company' brings the project to a cataclysmic end with a tangible sense of raw
driving purpose, closing the curtains on a deeply satisfying musical experience.
The Dodos are unlikely to face extinction given the evidence of pulsing life
found bursting through every vein of this admirably invigorating project.
I was left wanting more.