DODOS – Visiter (Wichita)

San Franciscan duo Meric Long and Logan Kroeber are trying to make folk hip again, and with this album, and its excellent predecessor ‘Beware Of The Maniacs’ they are doing a pretty good job of it. Their debut album had some fine songs on it, most notably ‘Trades & Tariffs’ and ‘The Ball’, and so this one had some living up to do. ‘Walking’ starts off the album with just finger-plucked guitar and the gentlest of drums, and this segues into the slightly more up-beat ‘Red And Purple’, similarly utilising the same instrumentation but with a bit more gustiness to it. ‘Eyelids’ has the drums more to the fore, with the guitar and vocals mixed somewhere in the background, and ‘Fools’ is the same, only more so, with the drums this time at double speed and the guitar gamely keeping up with the rolling rhythm. ‘Joe’s Waltz’ reels in the drums for a solo guitar and vocal track, and with clocking in at nearly seven and a half minutes it could turn out to be a major miscalculation. Luckily the sublime vocals and variety of styles employed on the guitar keep it interesting, and when the drums do make an appearance half-way through it helps power the second half of the song to a triumphant conclusion. ‘It’s That Time Again’ loses the plot a bit, with its lack of melody and odd interjections at the end, but the band are soon back on form with ‘Paint The Rust’, another of their intriguing little indie-folk offerings, even managing to incorporate a bit of bluesy slide guitar in there as well. ‘Jodi’ is a cracking little song, taken at breakneck speed and with some superb acoustic guitar picking, it is one of the highlights of the album, and the track to seek out if you want an example of the band’s sound. ‘Ashley’ is almost as good, followed by another lengthy track in ‘The Season’, and it is a sign of how inventive this band is when they can deliver six and seven minute songs on just guitar and drums and not make them repetitive or boring. ‘Undeclared’ is a tuneful vignette, leading into epic closer ‘God?’, a six and a half minute piece which once again twists and turns in style and tempo to produce something that is more than just folk or indie, but something that is purely the Dodos. I know this album will not appeal to everyone, and folk purists might find it just a bit too modern for their tastes, but the band are trying to revive a genre which has had far too much bad press, and for that alone they are to be admired.