Oct 15, 2019
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The Dodos


The Collegian

Latest album falls short

On their third album, “Time to Die,” 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 Spill’s 2006 release “You in Reverse” and Fleet Foxes’ 2008 self-titled album.

The band’s second release on Frenchkiss Records starts off sluggishly with the song “Small Deaths.” In just more than 45 seconds the drums kick in and contrary to the band’s previous albums, they are much more mellow.

While the key elements of the Dodos are still audible on “Time to Die,” 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 Kroeber’s piercing drumming coupled with Long’s laidback vocals, which landed the track “Fools” off of their 2008 second album “Visiter,” in a Miller Chill beer commercial earlier this year.

Upon the first listen of “Visiter” and the Dodos’ 2006 album “Beware of the Maniacs,” the unique sounds were instantly identifiable. The latest release loses that quality and lacks the energy that once pulsated from their songs.

Similarly, “The Strums,” off of their latest album, invites kids to annihilate authority figures for their lack of faith.

“So 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.”

The second track on “Time to Die,” “Longform,” channels the bands previous percussion style, while “This is a Business” recalls the nimble work of Long’s guitar skills. For these reasons, both tracks are two of the best on the album.

The Dodos’ lyricism is still devious and delivered in what can only be a wink and a smile manner. On the track “Winter,” also off of “Visiter,” Long sings about his loneliness and deviant desires.
“My friends they understand me better, but they don’t whisper good night. I want a lover and a sister, but we know that’s not right.”

By itself “Time to Die” is an average effort. But compared to the Dodos’ previous work, the album underwhelms.

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