There are some astounding duo acts out there, and The Dodos’ 2008 album Visiter easily set them apart from the rest. This year’s Time To Die does not disappoint and sees the duo become a trio, introducing vibraphonist Keaton Snyder into the mix with exciting consequences.
Personal favourite, ‘Fables’ is one such track that reflects what a good decision it was to recruit Snyder into the band and the ethereal glimmer of the chorus also reflects the influence of Producer Phil Elk who has previously worked with The Shins.
This influence by no means represses any Dodo definining percussion or flair however! The listener is still gripped by soccer punching tracks ‘Two Medicines’ and ‘This Is A Business’ that allow percussionist Logan Kroeber’s energy to shine.
The more sombre ‘Acorn Factory’ is quite clearly about a particularly painful bout of heartbreak. The lyrics are melancholy and philosophical, ending on “When you turn on the one/You can’t turn it back” which, partnered with the songs trundling rhythm is enough to coax a few tears from the steeliest of eyes.
Closing song ‘A Time To Die’ shows the band aren’t going anywhere without a rambunctious round of fisticuffs. The song is underpinned with an brisk rhythm and Long’s crooning vocals that bring the 9 track album to its ideally fashioned close.
There are some who have said this is too safe an album, a suggestion I would have to disagree with. Time To Die is the sound of a band feeling their way through alien territory and frankly, Visiter was always going to be a hard one to follow up, a fact that many are strangely using to criticise The Dodos. This album makes it, not so much a time to die, more one in which to live.
Words: Mary Machin