The Boston Dopapod Quartet has been a highly adventurous band for over a decade. Curling their blend of progressive rock, jam rock, funk, bluegrass, country rock, jazz, and more, they create exploratory and engaging records full of artistic prowess and lively personality. They’ve taken that chemistry even further on their seventh self-titled studio LP, which follows 2019 Emission time. Although they are a bit repetitive in spots, they are an energetic, imaginative and elegant group that sees the Dopapod really coming into its own.
Dopapod is not known for taking long breaks between albums, and while waiting for three years DOUBABOD Far from being extensive, they were larger than most previous gaps between launches. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a role, as it has almost since then everything In popular culture since 2020. However, as the band explains, the break was a “necessary step [in general] For everyone to step back and minimize… It was a restorative thing and helped us move forward.”
As much as the LP represents a “new chapter” for them, it also finds them returning to “that conceptual theme of time travel” which is “permeated” with some songs from previous recordings. ironically, DOUBABOD It deals with “being in the present moment” as well, so that – like its predecessors – it can represent “symmetrical” concepts of “left-right and right-wrong”. Even the decision to self-name the group relates to the quartet’s consensus that they have “realized their full potential in terms of music and vision”.
Speaking of the latter goals, Dopapod makes the release interactive and multi-sensory in two ways. For one thing, they’ve partnered with Soundscape VR to show the entire LP through Magic Mirror on May 26, with Discord having a live chat between the band and attendees. It’s like a dance club that simulates things with great people and music.
Equally remarkable – if not more so – is the vinyl version unfolds to reveal a fully functional and fun board game. It “also explores the theme of time travel through a retrospective journey through the band’s recordings.” Drummer Neal “For” Evans explains: “You can hang out with your friends and play the game or play it alone. Not many people just sit around and enjoy each other’s company like this anymore. We often just watch the screens, so it’s great to turn around DOUBABOD into something more than an album.”
Fortunately, these tricks only reinforce what is already a very compelling record, so there’s a lot to love DOUBABOD In itself. Primarily, it allows the quartet to delve deeper into artistic stimuli and siblings like Phish, Grateful Dead, Umphrey’s McGee, Disco Biscuits, Kindo, and Camel without compromising their individual appeal. Even the pseudo-intro to “Building a Time Machine” packs a lot of creativity, complexity, and fun into its two-minute runtime. It’s simultaneously aggressive, erratic, theatrical, melodic and cosmic, making it the perfect way to welcome you into their crazy musical home.
This spirited and skillful brilliance punctuates a few other noteworthy trails, including following up on Black Holes, which are basically a big, impressive galactic party. Expanding on Kool & the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” bass, it combines relaxing folk rock and hooks with roomy woods and challenging counterpoints. Likewise, “Grow” and “Velcro” wear ’70s Stevie Wonder’s glee on their sleeves—and they’re all better for it—while “Thank You” blends Frank Zappa’s hilarious ingenuity, the heavenly allure of IQ, and the classic Yes. Subsequently, Happy Accident cleverly presents an abstract and surreal jazz collage as a prelude to rockabilly’s closest affinity, Funny Time.
Many other tunes also move away from complexity and outright weirdness to focus on simpler, more accessible celebrations. In particular, “Fannie” unfolds in a calm pace, warm bells, gentle vocals, and relaxing lyrics of the catchy romance. “Nuff” is relatively calm but with an emphasis on the self-acceptance of wordplay (“I’ve had enough/I’ve had enough/I’m enough”), and “Ebb and Flow” features beautiful harmonies and a colorful synthesis of guitars and acoustic keyboards.
There aren’t any bad inclusions in the LP, but some of them tend to work together because the group sticks to two major compositional paths. Specifically, the funky cuteness of “make a design” seems pretty common by the time you get to it, so it just doesn’t stand out enough. This sense of familiarity covers a lot of the group overall, so while each pick earns its place, the record can do more to distinguish its roughly ten compositions during full runs.
so far , DOUBABOD is another great innovation that enhances Dopapod’s stylistic approach. Sure, it would benefit from the occasional increased exclusivity and freshness, but even pieces that work together are satisfying and impressive. It is never more than welcoming, resulting in a concise and focused trip that is well worth indulging and repeat visits. Additional accessories – VR collector and inspiration game – are the cherry on top, which means it DOUBABOD It is best consumed in its fully multidimensional form.