The Dodos | No Color

  Frenchkiss (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  March 23, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars


"Control yourself." "Are you going to Heaven or Hell?" "This ship is going under." Meric Long, vocalist/guitarist for San Francisco duo the Dodos, makes a lot of broad statements on the band's fourth studio album. Fortunately, the music fills in the blanks. Long plays an acoustic guitar with determined malice, resorting to long, graceful, fingerpicked arpeggios in an almost classical style — he just might be the Esteban of indie rock. Logan Kroeber isn't flashy behind the drum kit, but his intricate, joyous thud is inspired. On their previous album, Time To Die (2009), they were positioned to make a grand statement, working with indie-god producer Phil Ek and adding a third member to their ranks. Here, they're back to a duo, but they sound huge, realizing their potential, splitting the difference between Animal Collective's kaleidoscopic playground stomp and the tuneful craft of the Shins. "Going Under" deploys abrupt, wicked tempo/time changes, and the ecstatic highlight "Good" explodes from behind a wall of acoustic guitars with an atom bomb of speaker-splitting overdubs, strings swirling amid the clatter. One can only assume the album title was a joke.
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