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Preview: The Dodos 

The San Francisco duo comes to Gasa Gasa Feb. 20

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Photo by Chloe Aftel

Fighting evolution is a losing proposition, never more so than if your chosen band name is The Dodos. Yet that's exactly what Meric Long and Logan Kroeber have done with their sixth LP Individ (Polyvinyl). They turned back the clock and reverted to an earlier state of mind and being. An energy chart of the San Francisco duo's discography would look like the most volatile of stock reports, with 2008 breakthrough Visiter a clear highpoint, follow-up Time to Die an arguable low, and the two albums since spiking various points in between. No Color had the benefit of gale-force backup vocals by Neko Case (who could get a rise out of just about anything), while 2013's Carrier lugged the emotional baggage of contributor Christopher Reimer's sudden death. Aided and impinged upon by nothing at all, Individ stands alone, defiantly in thrall with the sheer musicality of a guitar-and-drums setup that makes even the most complex arrangements seem simple, even primal. The studio sheen that smoothed out recent records has been roughed up just enough, so Long's guitar scrapes are back to giving off splinters and Kroeber's violent percussion once again sounds like it's fighting to get out of your speakers. There are no obvious standouts or pillars, no "Substance" or "Confidence" as on Carrier (to say nothing of Visiter's defining charge "Fools"), but the album as a whole feels stronger for it, subtly and steadily shifting tempos and time signatures like skillful sleights of hand. It's a two-trick pony that finally remembered it needs nothing more. Springtime Carnivore opens. Tickets $13.


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