Latest album falls short
On their third album, â€œTime to Die,â€ the Dodos gain a member but lose originality.
The San Francisco one-time duo features vocalist Meric Long on guitar and Logan Kroeber on drums. New to the band is Keaton Snyder adding the tones of the vibraphone.
Another addition to the album is indie producer Phil Ek, who engineered, produced and mixed such albums as Built to Spillâ€™s 2006 release â€œYou in Reverseâ€ and Fleet Foxesâ€™ 2008 self-titled album.
The bandâ€™s second release on Frenchkiss Records starts off sluggishly with the song â€œSmall Deaths.â€ In just more than 45 seconds the drums kick in and contrary to the bandâ€™s previous albums, they are much more mellow.
While the key elements of the Dodos are still audible on â€œTime to Die,â€ released in stores on Sept. 15, and available online in August, the frantic beats and finger-picking guitar riffs are toned down.
Missing from most of the album is the unique confection produced by Kroeberâ€™s piercing drumming coupled with Longâ€™s laidback vocals, which landed the track â€œFoolsâ€ off of their 2008 second album â€œVisiter,â€ in a Miller Chill beer commercial earlier this year.
Upon the first listen of â€œVisiterâ€ and the Dodosâ€™ 2006 album â€œBeware of the Maniacs,â€ the unique sounds were instantly identifiable. The latest release loses that quality and lacks the energy that once pulsated from their songs.
Similarly, â€œThe Strums,â€ off of their latest album, invites kids to annihilate authority figures for their lack of faith.
â€œSo children kill your teachers, kill your parents then kill your preachers. Cause we know that they only will doubt you, when they start to lose their features.â€
The second track on â€œTime to Die,â€ â€œLongform,â€ channels the bands previous percussion style, while â€œThis is a Businessâ€ recalls the nimble work of Longâ€™s guitar skills. For these reasons, both tracks are two of the best on the album.
The Dodosâ€™ lyricism is still devious and delivered in what can only be a wink and a smile manner. On the track â€œWinter,â€ also off of â€œVisiter,â€ Long sings about his loneliness and deviant desires.
â€œMy friends they understand me better, but they donâ€™t whisper good night. I want a lover and a sister, but we know thatâ€™s not right.â€
By itself â€œTime to Dieâ€ is an average effort. But compared to the Dodosâ€™ previous work, the album underwhelms.