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10Listens Review: Dodos, ‘No Color’

Another 10Listens review:

The insistent power of No Color sneaked up on me. Picking out the parts straight away, I heard acoustic guitar and some kind of percussion, not a typical drum set. The biography confirms it: Meric Long sings and plays mostly acoustic guitar, and Logan Kroeber handles those odd drums. Some guest spots and overdubs and electrics aside, that’s all the instrumentation there is. Other bands run with this minimalism, less being more, stripping down the sound for a more intimate approach. But on this record, the pair chases down something completely different.

I’d say that rather than trying to merely get a message across to the listener, these two are more interested in creating a mood, putting the listener in certain state of mind. And generally, they succeed. The music is quite often terrific. But also: the rhythm is more important than the specifics. Guitar chords seem to be repeated more than they are changed. Snatches of melody show up here and there and disappear, only to be brought back, or not. The songs aren’t really formulaic, especially on the first half of the record: Except for the awfully catchy sing-song refrain of “Going Under,” it’s hard to decipher which might be a verse and which might be a chorus. Honestly, for the first few listens, this strange structure frustrated me and my expectations. The nearly indecipherable lyrics didn’t help me understand the mechanics any better, and made me think wordless chanting might have been the better play. But after a while, I went ahead and gave up trying to think like that, and only then did I really begin to enjoy the bulk of it, turning off rather than turning on.

Continue reading ‘The Dodos: No Color’