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The Dodos: No Color

“Is it better to be on or be good?” sings the Dodos’ Meric Long on the San Francisco indie-folk duo’s new No Color. It’s an apt question: For 2009’s Time To Die, the group added a third member (to play vibes, of all things), contracted big-name producer Phil Ek, and introduced electric guitar into the mix—all attempts to be “on” that resulted in The Dodos’ most patently “off” work to date. But No Color scales things back, with Long and drummer Logan Kroeber playing mostly as a duo again, carrying the majority of the sonic load on a spirited collection of aggressive folk songs. When outsiders make contributions, The Dodos make them count, like the much-needed feminine touch Neko Case gives to “Sleep,” where swooning boy-girl vocals pretty up a thudding experimental hoedown. On “Black Night,” waves of Smashing Pumpkins-style feedback swell and crash over a base of cutup strumming. No Color is the noisiest, prettiest album of The Dodos’ career. It’s good and on.


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