Photo by David Greenwald
Indie rock will eat itself! Monday we talked about ripping off the ’80s, but apparently it’s late enough in the decade for bands to start cannibalizing their ’00s predecessors — I guess Beirut‘s Neutral Milk Hotel in Europe shtick should’ve been the giveaway. The new Dodos album, Visiter, is an album full of big ideas, ideas that other bands had first and executed better. It leans heavily on several early ’00s/late ’90s lo-fi indie folk acts, borrowing heavily from the Microphones‘ multi-tracked guitar wizardry and plaintive vocals as well as touching on Neutral Milk Hotel‘s horn-section fuzz. The click-clack drum circle beats have been usurped by any number of bands lately, but in this case, we can probably blame Animal Collective; and as for the obnoxious blues guitar figures that clutter the album’s weakest tracks, one need look no further than fellow sans-bass act the Black Keys. Or if you’re a racist (joking! sorta – don’t get me started on “new primitivists”…), the White Stripes.
Amidst this clatter, the Dodos are trying to write pop songs; their best moments are simple, baggage-free tunes like “Winter,” a song the Microphones’ Phil Elverum would’ve been happy to record during his Glow Pt. 2 days. But on the whole, it’s a record of trial and frequent error that didn’t sound much better at the Natural History Museum last week, where guitarist Meric Long strummed the hell out of his acoustic axe and forgot folk songs need room to breath. Have we forgotten the loudQUIETloud lessons of the Pixies already?
Still, Long has an undeniable gift for melody. On these songs he lets it shine through:
(Visiter is out now on Frenchkiss Records)
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