The Dodos – No Color
The Dodos’ new album is just nine songs long, perhaps a result of the slightly disappointing previous album. Fortunately the good elements have remained: the strange time signatures and the percussion like strumming of Meric Long. Opener and single “Black Night” is a good example of the newer, louder style. Long’s singing is still mediocre at best bur the vocal melodies make up for a lot. They were also helped this time by Neko Case who lends here remarkable vocal talent to a few of the songs, lifting them up and giving a nice extra color. Songs that are already dominated by some great hooks, making you remember at least part of the song after only a few plays.
The new sound doesn’t always work live, where they can become too loud. It works on this album: The Dodos are back on track.
Parts and Labor – Constant Future
I first heard of Parts and Labor when they opened for Battles. Their musical style fits into the mathrocking experimental mold. Off-kilter drumming supported by guitar noise and pointy keyboard sounds. But this New York band gained some pop sensibility making their songs more transparent. They are not the next Hootie, but it has that Butthole Surfers vibe that makes it fun to listen to. Weakness remains the singing, which isn’t helped by the at times poor vocal lines. The music is powerful and exciting. This should be an able that will lead to more fans.
The Head and the Heart
Sub Pop has unearthed another gem right in their backyard. Seattle’s The Head And The Heart debut album came out in april and is yet another fine folk rock album on the label. The link with Fleet Foxes is easily made. The don’t quite reach the level of musical and lyrical strength but the multiple vocals contrast each other well. The high tones of the piano add a happy flavor.
Some of the premier folk bands of today can be heard: the aforementioned Fleet Foxes, the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons sans the terrific singing. But where these bands blend old time folk with their own 21st century interpretation of the genre, the Head and the Heart bring us nothing new. Every song is well written and performed but everytime I couldn’t help imagining it being performed by one of those three bands. And it always sounded better in my imagination. But even without any originality the album still stands out as one of the nicer ones of the year.