‘Carrier’ Benefits from The Dodos’ New Songwriting Approach

Graduate Division

Since 2005, the Dodos have been known for the experimental style of their music, and this is reflected in their earlier albums, such as 2008’s Visiter, an appealing and slightly eclectic showcase of the band’s various musical interests, such as progressive rock and West African Ewe drumming. 

They have since worked to more narrowly focus their sound, and this is embodied in the albums that followed Visiter, reflecting the same originality but developed with a more calculated tactic. 

With their latest release Carrier, however, the trajectory of this San Francisco group’s music has suddenly changed.  Following the passing of guitarist Chris Reimer, singer/guitarist Meric Long and percussionist Long Kroeber set aside their unorthodox approach to songwriting previously characterized by the use of alternative instruments, and instead produced an entire album of guitar-driven, lyrics-inspired tracks. 

Just like their earlier releases, Carrier is still full of experimental percussion and delightfully creative instrumentals, but now it is even more distinguished by an underlying earnestness reminiscent of such bands as the Shins.  More so than the latter, however, the Dodos allow each song’s musical elements to set the mood of the album, blending lyrics seamlessly with melody through flowing harmonies. 

The result is a stunning LP with many standouts ranging from the beautifully simple “Family” to the entrancing and powerful “Confidence.” 

All of the tracks on Carrier offer a solid listen, however, and while the Dodos’ approach to songwriting has recently changed, the creative focus this band has achieved throughout the years is still apparent, and the sound of their latest album greatly benefits from this.