It's a crying shame The Dodos' vocals are as quotidian and milquetoast as listening to a runner talk about her workout. Why? Because from the get-go the drums "boom-boom-pow" rapturously while the guitar delivers delightful streams of acoustic "deedley, deedley, doos." The lackadaisical vocal stylings wouldn't seem so lackadaisical if the instrumentation throughout No Color weren't so driving and energetic.
On the opener, "Black Night," the duo stretches its sound with the addition of strings and Neko Case's backing vocals (she quietly appears throughout), but it's the striking drums that make you sit up and go, "Word." Slap-chop time changes with a minimalist kit in a reverberating room create pulsing, dynamic momentum but the vocal lassitude steals this liveliness away.
"Good" clocks in at 6:10 and features all that is great about The Dodos. Beginning with a percussive guitar figure, the song jolts and jounces with sudden hollers, squeaky well-maintained guitar feedback and the clickity-clack of a marching snare running the show.
"Don't Try and Hide It" shines vocally and no doubt is the album's most melody-driven song. It doesn't hurt that Neko is turned up in the mix.
Rad drums. Sweet guitar riffage. Spiritless vocals. Two out of three ain' t bad.