Time Changes

It’s been more than a week since daylight savings but I’m still feeling the drag of that lost hour. Is it really the first day of spring? The minute we’re launched, gratefully, out of stagnant winter, time speeds up. Dismal February gives way to gentle April with barely a breath to acknowledge March.

At the moment, though, winter is making a defiant, snowy last stand. I’m barricaded in my room listening to the best evidence I have that the last month really happened—“Going Under” by the Dodos, off their new record No Color, which came out March 15. The song is a strange, boisterous anthem, jolting through fitful rhythms like winter tripping towards spring. It begins in an off-kilter 6/8 and then, with a subtle shift in time and tone, slips into a joyful 4/4, Meric Long’s voice suffused in a chorus of ethereal harmonies. A soft thump of the bass drum marks the final switch to 3/4, and without a backward glance the song explodes into a howling, percussive crescendo and then a soft, wordless conclusion.

Throughout No Color The Dodos display a rare reliance on rhythm to lend power and depth to their nimble melodies. They’re not the first, though. More than anything, “Going Under” reminds me of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” by the Beatles. Remember that languorous, waltzy first verse, and those three, glorious hits that signal the beginning of the chorus in 4? “Lucy in the skyyyy with diamonds!” crows John, joyfully, inexplicably. Who knows what it means—I was always just happy to sing along.

 

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