The Dodos - Time To Die
Those crazy American indie-folk kids The Dodos are at it again; thrust into the limelight when a track from their 2008 album Visiter was used on a beer commercial and placed firmly in the public eye. So it's over to you lads, here we are now - entertain us!
Luckily this is a challenge The Dodos have risen to exceptionally well. This year they are presenting themselves as a three-piece with the addition of Vibraphone player Keaton Snyder. Could this be their eureka moment? Like adding pineapple to cheese Snyder has turned the picnic in the park into a full blown buffet with serviettes and proper cutlery.
The Dodos have always been a pretty cool band, a little rough round the edges but with solid songwriting and their heart in the right place. Time To Die sees them really stepping up to the plate, their sound is filled out and they are serious contenders for the Americana-Indie middle-weight belt. It's only fair to say that the improvement in sound cannot be exclusively laid at Snyder's feet: Phil Ex is on production duties and his experience with The Shins and Fleet Foxes is a perfect fit with the fleshed-out folksters.
It's a pleasure to hear a band in such incredible sync, telling stories, driving an open-topped bus across America pointing out the locals, their loves and lives. Fused together, driving onwards then without warning breaking off onto separate paths, taking the journey in new directions only to meet again for the final race over the finish line. They are at a point now where they are aware of one another's strengths, playing off against each other. As always the harmonies are strong but they are more alive, more confident in their abilities and not afraid to take some risks.
"I feed you, you feed me back" they sing on the arpeggio-filled and charming ballad 'Acorn Factory'. So very true. The more love heaped upon the band the more they've delivered to their audience, a reciprocal two-way relationship in full swing. ‘Troll Nacht’ is the soundtrack to summer's days riding bikes, climbing trees and first kisses, a safe warm place. I can feel a beard starting to grow just by listening to these songs and as I glance down I see that unknowingly I’ve whittled my iPod into the shape of a possum.
Album closer and title track ‘A Time To Die’ could be a Led Zeppelin IV outtake, the focus and drive of this song is unrelenting; the tom-tom heavy drumming rolling like thunder carrying the album to a close and The Dodo's into the major leagues.