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The Dodos – Visiter

"Visiter"

The Dodos – Visiter
17 September 2008, 10:00 Written by Charley Caines
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Visiter is the second album to be released by American psychedelic folksters The Dodos. The duo formed in San Francisco back in 2006 with originally just one member, Meric Long whom toured around the city as a one-man acoustic act going by the name of Dodobird. After studying Western African Ewe drumming Long began to take a strong interest in blues and set out to fuse the two together creating a sound, which revolved around percussion as the centrepiece. He was later introduced to progressive metal drummer Logan Kroeber and soon after The Dodos were born and released their first album in 2006, Beware the Maniacs. Some rigorous touring later and they have now returned with an album, which promises thoughtful lyrical content, a variety of quirky yet well-structured acoustic arrangements, and more importantly some damn good drumming. Much of the album feels repetitive with chugging drums and bells accompanied by low acoustic plucking and Fleet Foxes inspired vocal sets. Although it’s repetitive nature may warn many ears away you’ll soon know doubt succumb to their dulcet tones and become lulled into a state of calm. 'Red and Purple' has shades of The Shins and even The Guillemots with its melodic choruses but given a twist with glockenspiels and beach bum maracas. 'Joe’s Waltz' however does not follow suit for its epic 7 minutes and 22 seconds duration, half way through you are immediately jolted from your comfy folk paradise to a full blown Black Keys style blues fest. Rabid guitars, wailing and cowbells become the way forward. The band’s ambitions on this album were to capture the live energy they produce at gigs, which is why many of the tracks sound unpolished and tinny in places. This certainly does invoke a sense of “liveness” and many tracks sound as if they would wilt in impact if polished off in production, this is particularly evident on the enchantingly melancholy 'Park Song'. Drummer Logan Kroeber's rhythmic and frantic percussion sets sit perfectly alongside Meric Long's gentle plucking and strumming. Combined with Long’s angelic yet awkward vocals they manage to create a beautiful and intense stark sound. It’s refreshing to see a band so intent on focusing on percussion and actually doing it well and imaginatively. Kroeber is even said to have recorded the majority of the album with tambourines strapped to his feet. Many acoustic acts at the moment seem tired and generic whereas the Dodos seem to have managed to take Lo-Fi by it’s ambient little horns and transform it into something far more interesting with a great deal more substance. 73%The Dodos on Myspace
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