(03.2008, French Kiss)
Verdict = Marvelous Left-Field Folk
In my perusing and plagiaristic amalgamation of reviews written on The Dodos’ Visiter (FG is moving beyond original thought) I’ve noticed quite a few freak folk references taking me back to the heyday of the term in 2005 when Sung Tongs, Milk Eyed Mender and Rejoicing in The Hands were ruling the collective conscious (and apparently still are). In application to The Dodos, the term seems not only tired but completely off base. As an acoustic guitar & drums duo The Dodos were destined to be pinpointed as folk (read: uses acoustic guitar) but Visiter is far easier to digest than some of the weirder references that it is coupled with. Now, despite my slight on freak folk as a viable genre label, I am generally fanatical about those 2005 originators of the faulty term. So let me preface this with saying that in separating The Dodos from these fine artists I in no way intend to demean the music because The Dodos freaking rule. So yes, lets go ahead and call it folk or whatever, but with that designation just know that this ain’t your mama’s folk, your gramp’s folk or your standard blasé acoustic indie affair. The Dodos are uniquely creating songs that are not only accessible but wonderfully unique in their composition. If we are going to make any type of references here I think the most apt one would be their touring mates Akron/Family. However, The Dodos manage all the excitement, instrumental prowess and ingenuity of their glorious folk rock brethren with half the members. The stripped nature of the songs on Visiter create a wonderful, refreshing air that is somehow robust in its skeletal construction. It's true and everyone has said it that has reviewed the album, these songs seem much fuller than they should with a core of just acoustic guitar and drums. I don’t mind repeating it here though because it is a wonderful testament to incredible songwriting. So, if The Dodos are folk, they are uncommonly dynamic, completely refreshing folk that can be appreciated by any set of ears.