Dodi don't just challenge conventions; they toy with them, beat them into submission, and toss them out the window. Fronted by vocalist Archie O'Connor--a caustic hybrid of David Bowie and Jello Biafra--Dodi continually play with listeners' expectations by serving up maddeningly catchy hooks and then shifting gears with unforeseen breaks, quirky instrumentation, and loopy voice samples.
From the first track, "Last Week," they showcase their brand of neurotic soul, with O'Connor spewing his self-doubt and anger like a manic Al Green. Meanwhile, the band lays down the perfect groove, building it to a heated crescendo with the help of backing vocalists Katy Palmer & Om Jahari) and Peter Spotts's (Tina Chopp) tweaked-out synthesizers. Multi-instrumentalist Spotts serves as Dodi's secret weapon, lending the songs their quirkiness by throwing in everything from vibraphones to a didgeridoo. On "Heavy Hearted," Spotts's vibes fuel the song as James Palmer's (Long Wasted, Ottoman Bigwigs, The Bolos, The Lawnmowers) guitars incessantly scratch at the door, finally kicking it in with a wall of distortion.
For all O'Connor's heated invectives on relationships, humanity, and life in general, he still manages to come up with surprisingly humorous lyrics, particularly on Dodi's ultimate curveball, "Pussy," a gender-bending tale of self-discovery and gratification. O'Connor's misanthropic cynicism takes a back seat on the life-affirming "Firecracker," an amphetamine-laced anthem about the carnal pleasures of life, punctuated by Palmer's slinky guitar and brilliant backing vocals. The spot-on rhythm section of bassist Michael Wells (The Walkabouts, glimmer, The Sad Sad Songs) and drummer Andy Davenhall (The Lawnmowers, Sister Psychic, Pure Joy) navigates Dodi through all this painstakingly constructed musical anarchy, managing to provide a solid center to a stunning record with so much happening it can only reveal itself with repeated listens.
- Paul Ducey