Apr 16, 2008

Visiter-The Dodos

Never judge a book by its cover. Or so the old story goes. Well, this unobtrusive little cover is hiding the most vital, exciting music I have heard this year. To think, I hadn't even heard of this band until about two months ago. The Dodos are Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, two young men from San Francisco. Making thrilling, quite remarkable music. After listening to "Visiter", their recently released second album, I tracked down their debut album, "Beware of the Maniacs". I found out the debut is wonderful too, but right now I am talking about "Visiter". Quite honestly, this piece of music is nearly faultless. There is not a weak moment on it, each song feeling original and different. Exciting and thrilling. Essential.

This band and this music has been described as psych-folk or freak-folk or one of those other ghastly terms. In some quarters they have been compared to Animal Collective. I can see that comparison in some way. They certainly share that amazing quartet's spirit of life and the percussion in some songs is quite reminiscent of the AC. But, like any truly great music, The Dodos stand on their two feet. Shouting their brand of beautiful music to the sky. For all the world to hear. The songs on display here swing from soft and gentle numbers to tunes of great force and power. Some are epic in nature. Some are brief and mere interludes. All are great. All are full of life and hope and joy. It's amazing what you can do with an acoustic guitar and a drum kit. For that is all that is at play here. But it's not what instruments you possess, but what you do with them that is of vital importance. Logan Kroeber's drumming is simply amazing. You can hear every single hit of the kit. Whether it is delivered with pulsating rhythm or just a subtle nuance. This is never better illustrated then on "Fools", which attacks and reverberates with unlimited energy. So, whilst the drumming is the backbone of the music, Meric Long is the life force. Strumming his acoustic to great effect, he takes each and every song to another level. His voice is deceptively powerful too, relaying the necessary feeling to convince.

There are many highlights to enjoy on this album. "The Season" is an obvious standout. Its quiet start will eventually lead to a cacophony of sound that is impossible to resist. "Jodi" is six minutes of pure exaltation, its melody remaining quite memorable. "Joe's Waltz" is pure gold too. Another song with a slow build up, its ending of syncopated drumming proving irresistible. There are quieter moments too. "Ashley" is a like a gentle breeze in the middle of a hurricane, whilst the closing song "God?" finishes the album perfectly. A gorgeous song of great strength. Just like all of "Visiter" really. Strength of purpose, brimful of life. Eternally beautiful. The dodo might be an extinct species, but The Dodos are living and breathing life.

MP3: Fools-The Dodos
MP3: Ashley-The Dodos
You can purchase Visiter from here.

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