Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Dodos - No Color

I don’t know how to write objectively about music. So I’m not going to try especially hard to.

There’s this new-to-me band out right now called The Dodos. Last week they released a new album called No Color and it’s fantastic. I have been playing it nonstop this past week and talking about it to every person who will listen to me. It was slow to grow on me, it took me about one and a half listen throughs before my attention was grabbed, but I’m not sure how it took me that long. The album begins with some loud, insistent, guaranteed-to-grab-your-attention drumming. This insistent drumming, it turns out, is one of the main characteristics of this band and I love them for it. Mainly comprised of just two guys who share a crazy love of West African Ewe drumming and some guests depending on instrumentation needs, the Dodos play with form and rhythm and timing. The complexity of the lines happening and the way they interweave completely blows my mind. There is no bad song on this album, although there are three standout songs that I will skip to almost every time. The track that closes the album “Don’t Stop” has completely won my heart. It has this driving, striving sound through the verses and bridges – repetitive, fast drumming rhythms, distorted guitar, frantic guitar-picking – but when it hits the chorus, it’s like a ray of sunshine has just come out. The rhythm cuts to a half-time feel, the electric guitar has this bright melodic riff which gives you the same feeling you get during early summer days when the sun has reminded you why you continue to breathe every day and you are certain that you can rule the world without even trying. The chorus only happens once, making that breakthrough moment just that much more special. I have no idea what the lyrics are for the majority of this album; the vocal element just isn’t that commanding with this band and that may be part of the draw for me – I think it’s really challenging to have a really compelling sound without using the natural power of the human voice and the instinctive effect that poetic lyrics can have. These guys are just solid solid musicians. The drumming is unlike anything I typically hear in popular music today – it’s innovative, risky, difficult, progressive and the guitar technique is incredible! No one picks like that anymore.

You can download the track "Don't Stop" for free here!

On a day when the sun is shining and you have the opportunity to do some really fast-paced, high energy activities (like driving down the highway, running or riding a bike) listen to this album. It will prove to be a fantastic companion. But know, it is best listened to loud and fast.

For fans of: Panda Bear, Animal Collective, The Shins, Local Natives

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