The Dodos: Rhythmic Revelations And 'Small Deaths'

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Artistic maturation is hard to predict: Some musicians evolve drastically, almost recklessly, to the point where it's hard to grab hold of an identity. Others never venture far beyond the point where they started, adhering to formulas they've already worn out. Fortunately, "Small Deaths" — from a new album called Time to Die — finds The Dodos nestled in an ideal middle ground, where familiarity coexists with refreshing rhythmic surprises.

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Small Deaths"
  • Artist: The Dodos
  • CD: Time to Die
  • Genre: Rock
The Dodos i

In The Dodos' "Small Deaths," familiarity coexists with refreshing rhythmic surprises. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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The Dodos

In The Dodos' "Small Deaths," familiarity coexists with refreshing rhythmic surprises.

courtesy of the artist

"Small Deaths" opens with an intricately picked guitar pattern and the first of many appearances by a vibraphone on Time to Die. When the percussion arrives at the end of the first verse, it's as polyrhythmic as listeners might expect from The Dodos' last album (Visiter), but with one major change: space. In the band's past work, percussion has stood out as the driving force. Here, it's still revelatory, but it leaves room for other instruments to breathe.

Appropriately, the message of "Small Deaths" moves beyond the mostly internal narratives of The Dodos' early material, and instead opts for eco-conscious metaphors ("Tell me, glacier, where you've been / and why your posture is so poor") to go with more personal reflection. Far more than just a vehicle for The Dodos' inventive instrumentation, "Small Deaths" makes a full connection with brains and feet alike.

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