In 2008 The Dodos celebrated their signing to Frenchkiss Records with the release of Visiter, an album which roped in influences from the thriving American folk scene to produce a thoroughly vibrant and enjoyable album, but, despite being a critical hit, it lacked the comparative commercial impact of contemporaries such as Fleet Foxes who, also in 2008, released their eponymous debut sensation. There was a slight lack of direction with Visiter, too many times the album meandered in an attempt to replicate the strange, otherworldly aspect of Sung Tongs era Animal Collective. However, there was obvious raw talent, songs such as 'Fools' showcased their ability to produce quality mini indie anthems. No Color shares the aural ambition of Visiter but is thankfully stripped of its sometimes superfluous rambling as well as heading in a new, more sonically impressive direction.

Despite still relying mainly upon acoustic guitars, No Color is in no way, shape or form a folk album. The finger-picking guitar techniques on this album are not uncommon with bands such as Death Cab For Cutie and the exuberant energy matching that of West Coast indie-rockers Local Natives (minus the penchant for group harmonies). Like many of the East Coast indie bands of the past couple of years, The Dodos rely upon lively, almost primal percussion. Album opener 'Black Night' begins with the thumping of drums, a skipping heartbeat which pulses energy throughout the body of the album as whole.

'Going Under' is the album's first taste of the bands exquisite grasp of pleasing melodies and sonic experimentalism. The verses consist of finger-picked acoustic guitars interspersed with distant sounding, rasping open chords, but the chorus lifts the mood of the song with brighter, less jarring drums and delicate duet harmonies singing "This ship is going under" to a sweet, ear-pleasing tune. The final third of the song plays with the contrast of loud and quiet, finally chucking in all previous elements of the song in a final foray of flamboyance. The Dodos are clearly still having fun trying to wrong foot the listener, but more often than not the songs resolve in a wholly satisfying way.

Meric Long's striking vocals intertwine with either his vigorous strumming or intricate fret work in laudable fashion. Never does any one instrument battle for your attention and at times the compositions are remarkably complex and multifaceted. There lies the power of this album; with songs changing their form so drastically and at such a pace it never leaves you bored with the seemingly simple setup of the band. 'Don't Try And Hide It' enlists the voice of Neko Case to great effect, again, refreshing the sound of the album halfway through with a song which builds colourfully piece-by-piece, minute-by-minute. Whereas 'When Will You Go' takes pleasure in spiky tempo changes and chopping and changing between cheery verses and all-out sonic assaults of noise.

No Color sees the band indisputably raising their game and making a leap towards the top of the American indie-acoustic pile, snapping at the heels at the likes of Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes who must now similarly raise their game to remain as intriguing and impressive as The Dodos have now become.

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