The Dodos - Grizzly Peak - Pink Vinyl
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For over 15 years, The Dodos have been careening, almost recklessly, towards some perfect ideal of how The Dodos should sound. First formed with the intention of creating a record that felt and sounded how the inside of a guitar might, the band have spent the intervening years sprinting towards that platonic ideal. The propulsion of that chase has always been palpable, even in the duo’s strangest, quietest moments — a gasping thrill conjured as if metallurgically from the interplay between virtuosically fingerpicked guitar and bracingly intricate drumming. Now, after so long, finally: Grizzly Peak. The eighth album by Meric Long and Logan Kroeber still plays as if in freefall, but things are different this time. Meditative and sometimes painful in its emotional excavation, over the course of ten anthemic, gorgeously-rendered tracks, Grizzly Peak reveals itself as that place Long and Kroeber were always desperately trying to find.
As he was toying with the beginnings of what would become Grizzly Peak, Long began to feel the early twinges of arthritis in his fingers. Anyone familiar with Long’s style — an aggressive, rhythmic, weighted approach to fingerpicking developed and perfected over the past 15 years — will understand that this is akin to a runner feeling their legs wear down beyond repair, or the lungs of a brass player beginning to atrophy: an unfair, natural decay that bears immense, life-changing weight.
That driving force, then, animates Grizzly Peak. Although The Dodos have always been a band enamored, somewhat, with the idea of what it means to be ‘The Dodos’ — a duo for whom their own music provides inspiration enough — Grizzly Peak is, perhaps, the first Dodos record to look back, to take stock of Long and Kroeber’s life as one entity.
Complex, heart-on-sleeve reckoning — with selfhood as well as relationships with others — recurs throughout Grizzly Peak. “Stop running away while standing still/You’re looking away from what’s been here,” Long sings on the spare, almost funky “Sunrise/Sunset”, “I need to know that you want what you have,” he levels on “Quiet Voices.” These songs are emotionally generous but resolute in their aim to pull apart even the most tightly-coiled of emotions. Long says no stone was left unturned in his quest to make Grizzly Peak sound like the inside of a guitar, and the same feels true of the record’s emotional content, this is The Dodos laid bare, with nothing to hide.
Befitting a record that hits so close to The Dodos’ career-long goal, Grizzly Peak also serves as a love letter to the fans who have devoted their hearts to Long and Kroeber’s music. “I feel a huge debt of gratitude to our fans or anyone that paid attention enough to notice,” Long says. “I really want to say thank you, going back to our original intention and trying to perfect this sound really seemed like the best way to express that gratitude. It was a huge motivation in working through this stuff.” In its content, too, Grizzly Peak seems to speak to the lifeline music can give someone. “Sustainer,” a highlight of the record, puts it plainly: “The song will be my sustainer.” This is an album intensely in love with music as a life force, as a raison d'etre for so many of us in the world. “I never had much to say, but I said it with a guitar,” Long sings on “With A Guitar.” Years later, we’re still listening.
Pale Horizon (4:4)
With A Guitar (4:48)
The Atlantic (4:26)
Eyes Open (5:47)
Quiet Voices (4:9)
The Surface (4:33)