For all the permutations of acoustic roots music the experimental neo-folk movement has produced, the style's gravitation toward wispy, soft-rock redux can leave a listener feeling a bit challenged in terms of musical muscle. Not so with the partnership forged between guitarist and singer Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber in Bay Area exploratory psych-folk duo the Dodos. Though their stripped-down mosaic of country-blues finger-picking and strange studio alchemy has plenty of delicate moments, the pair's urgent, porch-stomp delivery gives the music a potent wallop rarely heard from acoustic artists. The duo's 2006 debut, Beware of the Maniacs, was recorded only months after they started playing together, yet it revealed the remarkable symbiotic interplay they had already developed. Small wonder, then, that sharpening material during months of intensive touring for their latest effort, Visiter (their first for indie imprint French Kiss, also home to Houston's Fatal Flying Guilloteens), entwined Kroeber's propulsive tom rolls and metronomic rimshot clatter even deeper with Long's expanding instrumental vocabulary. Mesmerizing fingerwork continues to mark some of the Dodos' most compelling songs, as on the tender melancholy of "Ashley" or the gradually building existential rumination of dramatic album closer "God?" However, it's the way the drummer's insistent pulse meshes with the Dodos' newly expanded palette that gives Visiter such irresistible momentum.
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