The Dodos get back to the basics
By: Sophie Grace
Preparing to fail might sound like an odd thing for a band who've already released three successful albums, but The Dodos' Logan Kroeber explains their new record, No Colour, was about ignoring the expectations their previous work may have yielded them.
"We recorded the first two records without label support or expectations, so when we did Time To Die it was the first time anyone cared that we were putting out a new record. As much as we succeeded in not letting that get to us, it was a new situation for the band and it had to be somewhere in the back of our minds. [But] we had a 'damn the torpedos' kind of vibe”.
The band's casual (or stoic) approach lends to a more organic style of composition than employed in 2007's Visiter and 2009's Time To Die. "It's not really a conscious approach, but Meric and I had a different feel for rhythm than on the first two records. Maybe just more rhythms in general, and I feel like No Color is an extension of that. But it's good to hold back sometimes."
Stripped back to founding members Kroeber, and Meric Long, No Colour is fast-pasted, percussion-heavy, and piquing. Neko Case lends gorgeous backing vocals, and the band have reconvened with producer John Askew (Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, Les Savy Fav). The Case collaboration comes off the back of touring with The New Pornographers, "She sang on some of our songs live a couple of times and when that tour ended she just offered to do it, so we basically just got lucky."
It's a welcome one too, giving depth to the melodies on tracks 'Sleep', 'Going Under' and 'Don't Try and Hide It'. Kroeber says, 'It was really fun watching her in the studio. A lot of her best parts were just her improvising a harmony on the third take or something. But the album was close to finished when she came to the studio so it was more of a question of how do we fit her into what's here rather than building something around her. And that's a pretty tough task, you can't really sneak Neko's voice into anything you know? It has a tendency to go big. But I'm so stoked on how her contributions turned out."
No Colour represents a more relaxed personality in terms of the band's live performance as well.
"There was a time when Meric and I were trying to refine our approach on stage, trying to fit into the bigger venues and theaters we were playing. But now we just want to do what's fun and natural so we're trying to keep it more sloppy yet tight like Visiter days."
Conceptually, the latest title pertains to the process of bonding with one's creative harvest: "It refers to my concern in seeing only grey, ashy colors in my head while playing the new songs. Even though I loved the new material we thought it was a slightly foreboding sign.”
Video: “Black Night“ by The Dodos