The Dodos are a duo, but on Carrier they sound like an orchestra. That's fitting, since The Dodos are also a band that sounds like a genre. Their modal, folky sound evokes comparisons—Fleet Foxes, Dirty Projectors—that seem apt but don't quite fit. They sound like everything and nothing, each album the same but different.
Carrier is more baroque and intense than much of their previous work. The third track, "Confidence," contains what might be termed a guitar solo. Where once The Dodos' music could be called esoteric, even quirky, they seem to have settled in to their own style on this album. It's not so much that their sound has shifted toward the conventional as it has become a more settled convention for them. The Dodos are no longer strange even to themselves.
The downside of that evolution is that they are no longer strange to longtime listeners, either. Carrier is probably the best Dodos album, but it doesn't pack the same thrill as their earlier, less developed efforts. That's a sign, though, that they have reached the height of their powers. Now is The Dodos' golden age, the culmination of their vision. Go see them while they are perfect.
The Dodos open for Neko Case at the Wilma Wed., May 21, at 8 PM. Sold out.