The Dodos with Reading Rainbow Saturday April 2, 2011 Wild Buffalo Doors at 8PM, Music until 1AM
With a title like Time To Die, you might think the Dodos' third disc is their 'maturealbum,' a deadly serious undertaking punctuated with string sections and synths. Nice trykid, but you've got it all wrong. While indie rock's go-to guy, Phil Ek (Built to Spill,Fleet Foxes, The Shins), hopped behind the boards this time, the Dodos' wildlypercussivestyle is still centered around two key elements: the punchy percussion ofLogan Kroeber and the Fahey-infused finger-picking of frontman Meric Long. Oh sure,you'll hear a horn blast here and there, but it's never enough to distract you from thegroup's riffs and rolls.
'I'm glad that we were able to keep things simple on this record,' says Long, 'Becausewhen your band gets a little popular, there's this tendency to say things like, 'Let's add anorchestra on this one!' That works for some people, but it would detract from this band.'Indeed, and as right as Long may be, Time To Die introduces one major addition to theDodos' creative core: Keaton Snyder, a 21-year-old music school dropout who plays amean vibraphone. As Long puts it, 'He's a better musician than Logan and I combined. Idon't even know what's going on with his music theory ideas half the time.' On a similarnote, Snyder-a classically-trained musician-is constantly learning what 'being in aband' entails. In fact, he didn't even know how to react when a chord was yanked duringhis Dodos debut. 'After the show,' says Long, 'he was like, 'Yeah, I've never had toplug anything in before.' It was hilarious.'
All jokes aside, you'd never know Snyder was the Dodos' third man without looking atthe new album's liner notes. Not because he's missing in action half the time; he's justlocked in step with Long's steady-handed strumming and Kroeber's canon-like beats.That, and Snyder's actual sound/physical presence isn't all that different than the visceralelements explored on the Dodos' previous two albums, 2006's Beware of the Maniacsand the band's buzz-stirring breakthrough, 2008's Visiter.
'The vibraphone is pretty crazy and loud,' says Long, 'and if you put it through someeffects, you can make it sound like a guitar or synthesizer. It still has that element ofsomething you're hitting, though, which is central to how Logan and I play ourinstruments.'
That's the thing about Time To Die: It expands the Dodos' Ginsu-sharp sound withoutsmothering it. It's not the death of everything you adored about the duo; it's a rebirth,revealing some serious career standouts (the widescreen payoff of 'Small Deaths,' thestring-and-drum spasms of 'Longform,' the delicate/distorted dynamics of Snyder's'Troll Nacht' parts) along the way. Which isn't a surprise when you hear how manymonths they spent writing the damn thing earlier this year.'After Visiter, we had a lot of options for which direction to go,' says Long, 'But I knewwe wanted a make a rock record. Being an acoustic band-primarily, at least-sort ofworks against this idea, but Phil's production showcased that side of our band.'
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