San Francisco duo The Dodos' bright, intricately rhythmic music quilts together influences ranging from Afro-pop and folk-psych to country-blues and po-mi (post-millennial) experimental pop. Since forming in 2005 around singer/songwriter Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber, The Dodos have released three increasingly polished and refined albums, with a fourth, No Color, on its way this week. Like a campground hook-up with a pie-eyed hippie chick, the music on their earliest releases possesses loose-limbed intimacy that seemingly could lead anywhere. For 2009's Time to Die, they added electric vibraphonist Keaton Snyder, who with producer Phil Ek (The Shins, Built to Spill), helped explore a more richly textured, shimmering sound. It cost the music some of its vibrancy and adventurousness, trading ramshackle audacity for lulling warmth. That balance is largely corrected on No Color. The nine-track disc feels big, colorful, and as fully fleshed as an Animal Collective album. Snyder has moved on, allowing Kroeber's drums to reclaim the heart of the mix. Bustling rhythms fold in on each other, reminiscent of Vampire Weekend, while the swelling choruses of acoustic guitars invoke Fleet Foxes. Neko Case contributes pretty backing harmonies on several songs. No Color is both vigorous and beautiful, a lullaby sung while leaping between rushing rail cars.
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