The Dodos - Certainty Waves - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Dodos - Certainty Waves

by Brian Thompson Rating:7 Release Date:2018-10-12
The Dodos - Certainty Waves
The Dodos - Certainty Waves

After the release of 2015’s Individ, The Dodos thought it was time for a break. During their hiatus, the duo got some newfound perspective, with Logan Kroeber returning to his day job and Meric Long losing his father and nearly simultaneously becoming one himself. While they were recalibrating, they looked to the past, revisiting their fan favorite album Visitor for its 10th anniversary and noticing how heavily it relied on the electric guitar. It was this seemingly innocuous discovery that would open the doors for experimentation on their follow up effort, which Meric Long affectionately refers to as a “midlife crisis record.”

From its opening measures, it becomes unmistakably clear that Certainty Waves isn’t going to sound like any other Dodos release. It’s an enthusiastic and often abrasive album. Beginning with the booming, anthemic “Forum,” we are struck by a boisterous horn fanfare and rowdy vocalization, a staunch departure from the band’s signature folk stylings. From there, the doors are swung wide open for sonic exploration. Soon, dance-infused “IF” takes the listener to a late 90s nightclub with its spastic percussion and driving electronica skeleton.

While there are moments that certainly feel reminiscent of earlier Dodos records (like the dreamy, melodic ”Center of”), Certainty Waves is far more interested in probing the varied avenues that give the duo the opportunity to truly expand their sound. From the romping, industrial drums of “Coughing” to the tribal, otherworldly “SW3” to the pumped up, high energy alt-rock jam “Ono Fashion,” this is a portrait of self-discovery. Many of the tracks themselves serve as a microcosm of introspection, like the aptly titled “Excess” with its pounding rhythm that twists and contorts and defies easy categorization.

The album ends on a high note, closing with the static-driven, off-kilter ballad “Sort of” and the ambitious techno experimentation of “Dial Tone.” Each track demonstrates the duo firing on all cylinders, and yet the songs in no way resemble one another. After more than a decade together, the Dodos are still searching for a rebirth of sound, and with Certainty Waves, they’ve most definitely found it. The band hasn’t quite ironed out all of the kinks in their newfound pursuits, but even their missteps demonstrate tremendous artistic potential. If you can call it a comeback, this album is a triumphant return.

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Agreed, though I'd say this is their best since No Color. Glad to have them back on track, though I doubt it'll last.

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