San Francisco indie band, The Dodos leaves behind its acoustic-folk sounds of 2008’s The Visitor and 2013’s Carrier for the neurotic industrial rock of its sixth release, Individ. The band’s usual intricate drum patterns and haunting lyrics make the album worth a listen, but the musical creativity of past works is lacking.
The album has a promising opening, with the ominous guitar feedback and frantic strumming of “Precipitation.” Once the vocals pick up, there is a shift into heavy guitar chords but mundane melodies. Much of the guitar on the rest of the album falls into a pattern of sharp, repetitive strumming, which makes for a rudimentary sound. One track that manages to stand out musically is “Goodbye’s and Endings,” in which both the percussion and guitar are more detailed and the electronic bridges add some variety.
While the guitar riffs are at times mind-numbingly drab, the haunting lyrics on tracks like “The Tide” show The Dodos’ strength as lyricists. Lines like “We’ll keep playing/ Until there is nothing/ There’ll be no room at the bottom” seem to mesh well with the anxious music. But the vocals of frontman Meric Long have never been The Dodos’ strength, and the indistinguishable groans on Individ are again flat and mediocre.
It’s clear that The Dodos were trying to take its sound in a new direction, and while the fast and pointed guitar and percussion, feedback noise, and gothic lyrics prevent the album from being a total snooze fest, overall the album is forgettable.