Even though The Dodos have maintained the same drum-heavy rhythm across four albums, the Californian duo’s formula still hasn’t lost its appeal… entirely. No Color (yes, I have to keep the American spelling) isn’t nearly their best (Visiter) but it’s far from their worst ( Time To Die).
The album hits the ground running, with the jungle rampage of Black Night. It’s everything you want in an opening track; especially as the tempo chops and changes before dropping-off suddenly to the single drum rhythm that leads into Going Under. Unfortunately, the momentum established by Black Night is short-lived and it becomes clear that starting an album at such a pace is only effective if the rest can follow.
The worst part is that the structure of the album as a whole, allows you to reflect on the structure of every song within – starting so strong and fresh, before falling back to basics and eventually sounding repetitive.
There are short-lived rays of sunshine, but these are merely new elements thrown into their old songs, instead of old elements incorporated into new sounds. The grungy guitar midway throughGoing Under is the first example of this, and more disappointingly is the short-lived xylophone intro of Hunting Season.
Sleep begins like a pleasant cross-country adventure theme, and will no doubt feature on a cheesy Big M ad sometime soon – especially if the next flavour is Mushy Shake, because the track becomes a little twisted with freaky vocals from Meric Long and haunting strings in the background.
Don’t Try And Hide is the worst track on the album and even with backing vocals from talented songstress Neko Case, tries way too hard to be emotional and intimate. Companions features some interesting Spanish-style guitar and later drifts into a peaceful melody, and Don’t Stop carries on with the impressive finger-picking, closing out the album with two of the better tracks.
No Color reminds me a lot of the serial position effect I learnt about in year 10 psychology, in the fact that most people will only remember the beginning and the end – everything else will be shortly forgotten after hearing.
Best Track: Companions
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: LOCAL NATIVES, YEASAYER, RUBY SUNS
In A Word: Ehh [One hand flat, wobbling side-to-side]