"Here they come, we panic, scream and run" - from "The Ball" by the DodosHailing from the progressive western city, San Fransisco, the Dodos are a relatively newly formed group, dated back to only 2006. Nevertheless, they've produced two fantastic folk albums already. Sometimes they're mistakenly called Dodo Bird on the internet, but this is a confusion arises from the EP with that title release by the founding member, Meric Long. The first album, Beware of the Manics, is a rough but captivating recording of original folk songs. The folk is different from both the sad and slow meandering of acts like Iron & Wine and the some-called freak folk exemplified by Devendra Banhart. The drums are louder, the guitars more rhythmically repetitive, all creating a fast paced but definitively folk sound. I implore you to listen to the first album in order completely through without pause or skipping. I'm absolutely certain it enhances the experience by allowing you to become comfortable enough with the stunning sound to be able to absorb the equally fantastic lyrics. The second tack "Trades & Tariffs" is amongst the most outstanding of all the tracks, but is hardly without many competitors. Far from being overly serious, I cannot prevent myself from grinning when paying attention to the lines sung in "Beards" as they are about exactly that, facial hair. "Elves" has some amazing yet simple piano playing that makes it perhaps the most memorable of all the songs. I'd have to say this album will remain one of my favorites for as long as I could reasonably suspect.
The recently released second album, Visiter (the misspelling is theirs not mine), follows many of the same stylistic underpinnings that made the first album so enjoyable, but laudably attempts to built upon them. Far more polished than the first, Visiter also possesses more tries at building up emotion compared to others abruptness. However, if the quickness of Beware of the Maniacs is what endeared you to it, this might be a disappointment. Either way, it doesn't take up the majority of the album, and anyone who liked the first should rightfully like the second. I haven't listened to it nearly as much, but that is mostly because of the fact that is indeed much newer. The singing is perhaps improved with the greater clarity of the vocals, but this is really a small detail. I am sure that Visiter is going to stand time equally well with Beware of the Maniacs, both becoming shining examples of modern folk.
To be had here:
Beware of the Maniacs (2006) @ 224 VBR kbps
Visiter (2008) @ 256 VBR kbps