Review Summary: The Dodos resonate an intriguing, altered sound in a continuously enjoyable listen in Time To Die
Last year, Visiter
brought listeners an endearing, emotionally fragile side of The Dodos. With each heart wrenching and soul crushing line, The Dodos began to garner significant attention to their tamper-free folk/indie-pop sound, all of which may have been caught within the first hook of “Walking.” Vister
was intricate, yet free of any demanding interpretation. One year later, Time To Die
showcases a rather frightening, yet heavy side of The Dodos while retaining some characteristics that have made Beware Of The Maniacs
so fresh and attractive. With the amplifier turned on and the focus geared towards more worldly issues, The Dodos increase their intensity once again. Just don’t expect to fall headfirst for Time To Die
From the start, electric strums and booming drum hits lay out what is forthcoming for “Small Deaths” and much of Time To Die
. As noted before, The Dodos have shifted towards a more boisterous sound, whether it is bouncing along during “Two Medicines” or underneath the harmonies highlighted during “Fables.” Elsewhere you will hear newly acquainted vibraphonist Keaton Snyder providing a hint of pizzazz as his vibraphone supports each harmony and hastily clean strum arrangement. The chaos that ensues with each riff is magnificent; as each chord is played with such force and yet spot-on precision. Vocally, Long executes his standard yelps from afar such as the ‘go!’ in “Longforms” that are so subtly and passionately necessary.
However, while the overall sound is adventurous, sometimes I want to rip the cord right out from Long’s amplifier or his acoustic-electric guitar. The problem is rather minimal, but for most of the record ‘the problem’ is a full throttled effort. It makes past epic transitions like Visiter’s “Joe’s Waltz” more desirable since it began as this cutesy, dark acoustic riff, but with each measure it built until the distortion was slowly heard through the amp. This compares most notably to “Small Deaths” but without the au-naturel beginning to present a commanding change (volume excluded). But Time To Die
finds ways to create that new twist, such as “Acorn Factory,” that stays soft, but never whimpers as strolls so swiftly.
Lyrically, Meric Long morbidly singing about the threat that is global warming with colorful lines such as ‘we'll be wading in its wake/sifting through old men in their place.’ And thus, it begins the littered messages of the perils and strife of our present world. Such topics highlighted within the album stem from the mockery of the business world to our wayward pharmaceutical habits. The problems are real and downright scary (yet obvious to many), but Long plays each line to feed each owns curiosity. And that brings full circle to the title song, “A Time To Die.” Teasingly and unafraid, Long triumphantly sings ‘it’s time to die’ that essentially accepts our doomed fate. And as the track slowly engulfs listeners with each snare tap, “A Time To Die” expels the sediments that boiled throughout the entire album of a hopeless despair.
Still, with every completed listen of Time To Die
, Vister’s “Walking” follows after, and it reminds me of how completely stripped and elegantly natural The Dodos once sounded. It is as if Meric Long’s amplifier is the worst thing to ever happen to Time To Die
. That is, of course, not to discount how well the album plays as a whole, but the ‘what if"’ question boldly looms. Time To Die
has its heart in the right place, but the product is not as nearly lovable. Even so, Meric Long and company have an undoubtedly intriguing new sound and they are consistently stringing great passages, and one cannot fault Time To Die