After the critical triumph that was 2008's 'Visiter', follow up 'Time To Die' can only be described as a crushing disappointment. Thankfully then, after taking on a vibraphone player for the latter, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber have reverted back to duo status, and with it, regained that unrestrained, organic quality that makes The Dodos so engrossing.
With little more between them than an acoustic guitar and a drum kit, it's a wonder The Dodos manage to create such a robust sound. Of course, the trick is in their manic, visceral rhythms, speedily plucked guitars and updated folk influences, yet all that would be for nothing were it not for their infectious melodies. Despite the fact that these tunes tend to circle and repeat, and perhaps even because of that fact, 'No Color' is beautifully mesmeric.
'Going Under' is utterly absorbing, as it segues from its understated and sweetly harmonised chorus to a blustering outburst of rampantly battered drums. Similarly, 'Sleep' employs delicate female vocals to soften its frantic pace, before screeching violins bring it to its potent pinnacle. In truth, 'No Color' often sounds like an extension of 'Visiter' except, that is, for the Spanish guitar and airy nature of 'Companions' and the childishness of 'Hunting Season' with its xylophone intro and nursery rhyme style verse.
While the measure of an album often lies in its logical development from the one prior, it's actually with a return to their old ways that The Dodos have regained their panache... And what panache it is.