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The Dodos: Visiter

B+

The Dodos

Album: Visiter
Label: Frenchkiss

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Right about the time disgruntled critics started complaining about contemporary white indie-rock being too white and indie-rock-ish, African music emerged as the influence du jour for bands that might have sounded more like The Shins five years ago. On Visiter, San Francisco's The Dodos marry accessible folk-pop melodies with mechanical polyrhythms inspired by West African Ewe drumming. While the result would never be described as danceable—it's a little too stiff-wristed to qualify as funky—Visiter zips along with a driving, forward-moving velocity that obliterates most traces of that pesky, Caucasian-y feyness. On the invigorating, summer-song-of-'08 candidate "Fools," the tension created by Logan Kroeber's clanging chika-chika beat lifts Meric Long's soaring tenor to even greater heights, giving an already hooky song another irresistible entry point via the hyperactive rhythm section. It's a winning formula The Dodos repeat throughout Visiter, and yet never run into the ground.