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Monday, November 10

Album Review: Dopapod – Never Odd Or Even - November 11th, 2014

Never Odd Or Even
Independent Release 
Dopapod is no stranger in the live music scene these days, opening for Umphrey’s McGee on numerous occasions, while playing their own headlining and festival sets all across the country. Dopapod consists of Eli Winderman (keyboards), Rob Compa (guitar), Chuck Jones (bass) and Scotty Zwang (drums), and of course there trusty sound and lighting engineer Luke Stratton makes up the fifth member of the band’s live team. The quartet has now added a new album to its studio catalog, Never Odd Or Even, keeping to their theme of palindromic release titles. Engineered and produced by Jason “Jocko” Randall, a friend of the band, this fourth studio effort represents a big leap forward in the band’s development. Compa states that this album shows a strengthened concentration in “…paying attention to things like melody, theme, lyrical imagery, and structure – all the elements that makes a great song.” While the maturity can certainly be heard in the new record, it is also obvious that the band has kept its weirdly fun-loving roots, which keeps them unique.
“Present Ghosts” starts off laid back with a simple verse before breaking into a heavy rockin’ chorus. The bridge breakdown is the highlight as the band takes some crafty syncopation into a long build-up, culminating in a massive solo from Compa. “Picture In Picture” begins with a groovy intro, held down by Winderman, Jones and Zwang, as Compa leads in with wailing guitar slides. It is kind of a quirky tune, musically, kind of bouncy, but also more of a rolling feel at times. “Like A Ball” is a fairly structured tune, compared with the rest of the album, but features a screaming keyboard solo from Winderman. As the final chorus builds up, it releases into an explosion of energy to lead out. “FABA” has a very laid back, groovy intro. Warbly keyboard tones kick in the verse, followed by legato arpeggios on guitar. The anthemic guitar-led chorus is the highlight of this instrumental tune, but the deep, dark, psychedelic bridge puts the icing on the cake.
“Sleeping Giant” starts off with a passionate instrumental intro before blasting into a rockin’ chorus. A somewhat progressive bridge section lays behind a funky keyboard solo from Winderman and a wailing guitar solo from Compa. “Nerds” is a quirky lyrical tune, kicking off with a satirical intro that sort of pokes fun at the typical party girl. “Hey Zeus” starts off with a nod to Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” before breaking into an old-timey rock & roll instrumental jam, trading off solos between guitar and keys and finishing out with a “Sunshine of Your Love” outro. “Psycho Nature” is a dark tune, eerie and repetitive, which adds to the creepy aura. The band brings the track way down for a bridge before kicking it right back in for a screaming end. “The Upside Down” is a very relaxed, chill song featuring dreamy keyboards, complemented by background arpeggios on guitar. Swirling vocals present beautifully vivid lyrics. A hidden track at the end of the tune represents the title track of the album.

Overall, Never Odd Or Even is a wonderful addition to Dopapod’s catalog. All of these songs have been in the band’s live rotation for quite some time, so it is very nice to see them getting proper studio treatments as the quartet continues to progress and carve its niche in the live music scene. From the quirky tunes such as “Nerds” and “Like A Ball” to the more seriously themed tracks such as “The Upside of Down” and “Picture In Picture,” the band continues to find ways to relate to its fans and keep them riveted by their futuristic rock sound. Zwang and Jones hold down the rhythm section flawlessly, while Winderman leads the futuristic aura on keys, complemented by Compa’s tight but adventurous guitar playing. Seven years into the making, these guys are just getting started, and you can expect to see a lot more magic from them in the very near future. Ever on the go, the band is in the midst of an ambitious fall tour, so catch them on the road now before they start selling out venues and tickets are impossible to get a hold of.
Words: Randy Harris 
3 outta 5 Glowsticks!
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