Better than Visiter
J. Pearson | Green Bay, WI | 10/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree wholheartedly with Mr. William's review here. You have to listen to this album at least three times to really get into the feel of it, but when you do, it's so worth it. Although Visiter has some excellent tracks, no doubt, this album as a whole is much better and more focused. Not a dud to be found in these nine tracks. My three favorites are "Fables", "2 Medicines," and "Acorn Factory." If you liked Visiter, you've gotta check this one out!! Way better!"
Good in its own right
ClydeNut | 12/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was only last year when The Dodos became the next big thing in indie rock seemingly overnight. Their wild and frantic sophomore effort Visiter and their equally wild and frantic live shows seemed to give the band a cult following. I think one of the worst things you can do when listening to their newest release Time to Die is comparing it to Visiter and fixating on the differences. Time to Die is clearly a different record; you probably find that out 30 seconds into Small Deaths. Now just get over it and figure out how good of a record it is.
I think, at least at first, one of the main focuses of the sound of the music is Meric Long's vocal melodies. He's not only a great talent of the guitar, he can really write some good singing parts. The instrumentation is still as interesting as before; maybe one thing that can be missed from Visiter is that that album found the guitars and the drums in a constant battle for the listener's attention. They seemed to have slowed down this time around, but that is by no means a bad thing. This is clearly more of a pop record; if you've already heard Fables, then you get what I mean. In fact, Fables is a pretty good blueprint for the whole sound of the record (if there ever could be a blueprint); if you don't like that song, chances are you'll only like a couple off the rest of the album.
One of the small problems of Visiter was the lack of one cohesive sound throughout; it felt more like a collection of different songs. While Time to Die definitely does veer off into many different kinds of directions, it does try to fix this problem. You still get that feeling of tension in Visiter in some of these songs, like Longform and the fantastic Two Medicines. You get some extremely catchy pop-ish songs (Fables, The Strums, Small Deaths). Even Acorn Factory goes into a little bit of bluegrass. And the title track is one of the weirdest, most psychadelic songs The Dodos have ever made. Like Visiter, there's hardly any filler. In fact, the only song that really doesn't work for me is This is A Business. But Troll Nacht is the true centerpiece of the album for me. It begins with one of Meric's prettiest melodies and takes off to become one of The Dodos' most memorable songs.
There are some that feel that Phil Ek was not the right choice to produce a Dodos record. I think they're wrong; he would've been the wrong choice to produce Visiter if he had. For the sound The Dodos were going for this time around, Ek was the perfect to bring that sound full circle. Is it better than Visiter? In my opinion, no, though some people like this more. Is it still one of the best records of the year? Yes."