If there’s anything The Dodos have, it’s endurance. Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, indie rockers from San Francisco, got their relative “popularity,” from their 2008 sophomore album Visitor, still a favorite among indie rock listeners of my generation and those just a few years older. Though their 2011 release, No Color, received more critical admiration than any of their previous releases, it didn’t necessarily grant Long & Kroeber the commercial or spotlight shining success that they might have hoped for. Now, returning with their 6th studio album, Individ, totaling at around just 40 minutes, The Dodos show a bit of a return to 2006’s Visitor, with a bit of the complicated drum patterns from No Color. While the album is as melancholic-ally upbeat as the classic Dodos sound is, it lacks the excitement that No Color had, falling more to the somberness that Carrier carried (pun-intended).
While really clear, great moments arise, and nice melodies stick around (reminiscent of Panda Bear’s Brian Wilson-like style), like the last two tracks, “Bastard,” and the ending of “Pattern/Shadow (feat. Brigid Dawson of Thee Oh Sees,” there’s something about Individ that seems to fall just short of the mark. Maybe it’s that the album seems very “done before?” I don’t want to make the argument that bands have to constantly change their sound to make good music, but I don’t want to make the argument that staying the same works either (how many people actually listened to AC/DC’s Rock or Bust last year?) But I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re going to do along the same kind of material, maybe shake it up a bit? The penultimate track, “Bastard,” follows the classic Dodos sound, yet slows their energetic sugar-high drum clicks and kicks, and rapid guitar strumming for a second, and shows the melodic potential of The Dodos that sometimes gets drowned out in all that strumming and stomping. All that aside, it’s nice to see them stepping back to what worked on Visitor and No Color and growing into their sound.