Pulsating syncopation and scattered rhythms have always been the cornerstones of the Dodos' strangely attractive music. Time to Die is no exception. Logan Kroeber's frenetic drumbeats guide the jagged fingerpicking of singer-guitarist Meric Long. This time, however, the duo adds a third member: Keaton Snyder laces electric vibraphone into many of the songs. The additional instrument doesn't change the Dodos' fundamental sound, but the songwriting has evolved. Last year's Visiter captured a visceral primitiveness, while Time to Die features a more polished, grander sound. This can partly be attributed to producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, the Shins). Unfortunately, the vibrancy and urgency that make the Dodos a force of nature are missing from many of the songs. "Fables" sticks to a basic thump-a-thump-thump throb, and "Acorn Factory" is a pretty but forgettable tune. Textural energy still shines through on "This Is a Business," where feverish drumming builds and abruptly stops, only to come back to life furiously. Long's layered harmonies and classical guitar picking are still intriguing, but the band's missing arrhythmic pulse leaves something to be desired. — Danielle Sills
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