The Dodos - Time to Die (2009)
"Gorgeous" Johnny was a fringe member of the Skygreen Leopards in the group's early days; he didn't really play anything but neither could anyone else. Described by most as a phony and a self-confessed dandy, the band kept him around for his undeniable fashion sense. He would often quote Coco Chanels' views on Modernism and affected a British accent though he was from Orange County. This was a huge influence on the Donaldson/Quinn songwriting team. Eventually he moved to the south of France and no one has heard from him since except for a postcard that read: I'M STILL IN THE VAN! MUCH LOVE, JOHNNY. Anyway, his name's not really Johnny -- that's just a dick joke.
It's been 8 years since the 1st SGL's record was released. Since then the boys have maintained their singular aesthetic while managing to dabble with faux-folk, avant garde pop, reverb-drenched lofi psychedelia, plastic country and blurry ballads. This latest effort finds them collaborating with Jason Quever (Papercuts) to create a melancholy world overflowing with itinerant dandies, urban streets, suburban teens, and more girls' names than I care to count, all set to melodic shuffles featuring harmonies, frail piano, and romantic guitars.
As always with the Leopards the rhythms refuse to be bridled, the boys resist the urge to jam, and they won't ever learn to sing properly. This will frustrate the expectations of some. Others will find a sweet shadowy hiding place in these songs -- 3 minutes to hang out with girls who race horses, boys who never learned to dance, and a dirty uncle who steals your cigarettes.