In the early stages of 2012, Meric Long pondered whether there would ever be another record from The Dodos. Long wanted a fresh start, and all he was certain of was that the noisy-tones of the band's new guitarist, Chris Reimer, would be part of it. Reimer's sudden death from a heart condition at the age of 26 came as a shock for the duo. Long and Logan Kroeber knew from then that they had to carry on the band "for Chris". Reimer's influence on The Carrier began there, and doesn't seemed to have finished by the time the needle runs off of Side B.

Carrier is an arresting melodrama. Merely flick through the liner notes and acknowledge the song titles - 'Family', 'The Relief', 'Destroyer' - to adjust to the temperature of this deep water, and thus help you appreciate how different it is to any other Dodos record. Opener 'Transformer' welcomes us with cyclical guitar arpeggios and self-analysis: "what is a song?", "what is real?", "what is love?" - Long has admitted in the case of Carrier's songs, the words were first element of the pieces that was written, and it's no wonder. The lyrical style of previous records hasn't been completely lost but they're tuned to a solemn and frank frequency - something which is dealt with in a self-deprecating manner in 'Substance'.

There are some stunning moments of conflict on this record. Often, aggression is met with tranquillity and acceptance: after invasions of drums and brass, waves of serene acoustic guitar and the lyrics "so I sit with my wife, thinking of nothing much when we fight" come. Like in the case of the aforementioned 'Relief' and others like 'Confidence', it follows a Kübler-Ross type model.

As they recorded at John Vanderslice's analogue exclusive studio, Tiny Telephone, each song has been captured in as raw-a-form as you'd have heard from the duo. This method has exacerbated the band's inclination for sporadic sections, aggression, and flippant spurts of melody. Listening to the album's finisher, 'The Ocean', I can't imagine how this song could sound as honest and fulfilling without the obvious flaws and subtleties of human performance; the loose interaction between Meric's vocal and the strings of the Magik*Magik Orchestra feel like a cold kiss on the cheek.

Carrier is without doubt The Dodos' most emotional and forthright album to date. This is a record which isn't encumbered by the passing of Reimer, but celebrates the short and pertinent impact he had. This said impact kept the band together, and has encouraged them to write their most remarkable material yet.