During the tour for 2011's No Color, the Dodos welcomed 26-year-old Calgary guitarist Chris Reimer of the band Women as an official member. He didn't get to record with the San Francisco band before his tragic death last year, but much like the wider indie rock world, the Dodos, on Carrier, are still assimilating his influence.
The duo's strength formerly lay in stretching the acoustic guitar vocabulary by way of off-kilter math-rock/indie-folk, but on their fifth album they've finally gone electric. That risks burying what made them distinctive in the first place, but there were already hints that they'd grown tired of their self-imposed limitations. Even with the tools of a standard-issue indie rock band, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber manage to shake up the formula, adopting Reimer's syncopated, glistening, quietly virtuosic style. The sophistication suits the songs, which have a tragic seriousness without becoming a gloomy slog.
The Dodos play Lee's Palace on September 24.