The Dodos Share Track by Track Breakdown of New Album Grizzly Peak: Exclusive

The duo rediscovers "the initial premise for this band" on eighth LP

The Dodos, photo by Sheila Gim grizzly peak new album stream track by track
The Dodos Track by Track, photo by Sheila Gim

    In our Track by Track feature, artists take the time to dig deep into each song on their latest offering. Today, The Dodos look out from the Grizzly Peak of their eight LP.

    The Dodos are back with their new album, Grizzly Peak. Stream it below via Spotify and Apple Music.

    Grizzly Peak marks The Dodos’ eighth full-length release, following 2018’s Certainty Waves. The band were determined to make a “back to form” record, something they accomplished over the LP’s 10 tracks. Speaking about the lead single, “Annie,” vocalist Meric Long said the “intentions of the record are: rediscovering the initial premise for this band, while saying ‘thank you’ to our fans and those we’ve worked with along the way.”


    Long went deeper into that goal by providing Consequence with an exclusive Track by Track breakdown of the effort. Read on beneath the streams to see what else he had to say.

    The Dodos kick off their tour supporting Grizzly Peak tonight with a gig in Visalia, California. Check out their full itinerary here, and get tickets via Ticketmaster.

    This song is about loyalty and was the first song written for the record (excluding the pre-released singles “The Surface” and “The Atlantic”) that got me thinking about doing another Dodos record. It just really reminded me of old Dodos songs I used to write, and there were enough things to present in the song that got me excited, namely that opening guitar riff and the way the drums would land in the chorus. I was staying in my mother in law’s stone cottage in the woods in Northwest Spain and every noise in that house just bounces off the walls, you can hear a fork on a plate from the other end of the house. I just had this idea of someone living in this echo-y old house filled with regrets about their life and sort of screaming at the walls about it. The first version I did was with actual pots and pans for the drums and an accordion cause that’s what was there.

    “Pale Horizon”:
    If “Annie” was the song that got me thinking, “Pale Horizon” was the song that solidified the idea of doing another record. The entire song is played in the same fingerpicking pattern the whole time, I think it might be very similar to a Radiohead song off of In Rainbows but I’m not positive since I’ve been a little too scared to go check. It’s just so much goddamn fun to play and once you start playing that pattern it sounds and feels like so many things are happening at the same time. It reminded me of when I first started fingerpicking and it seemed like there was an entire orchestra happening in my ears. I worked on this song longer than anything else, and I really wanted to get that guitar to sound the way I heard it, which led me on a six month journey of recording an acoustic guitar a hundred different ways. The song is about feeling a bit desperate about not getting through to someone else but then you realize that you’ve just been bickering with a projection from your own mind the entire time, rather than actually listening to the other person.

    “With a Guitar”:
    The idea of me fighting anyone with a guitar is still a bit funny to me, but it’s kind of how I felt when I wrote it. Like what else have I got? It’s just a realization that the guitar has always been a way for me to not feel worthless, ever since I was 13 and I’m just super grateful for that. I mean, there are worse things I could have spent my time doing. As with a lot of the songs on the record, we recorded different parts of the song in different spaces to try and exaggerate the feeling of moving from one place to another. So the verses were recorded in my garage/studio space and the choruses were recorded in the big live room at Tiny Telephone. It’s like when a band performs in different locations in a music video, it should sound different too shouldn’t it?


    “The Atlantic”:
    The first version of this song felt like a math problem I couldn’t solve, there was something about the key change on the pre-chorus that never felt right. I think I prefer this version, at least it felt like I figured it out this time around, but there are definitely those in my inner circle who prefer the old one. It was originally about having a hard time communicating with my partner but it sort of evolved into having a hard time communicating with anyone, seems like that’s a popular thing now.

    “Eyes Open”:
    This song is kind of about being stubborn and the fact that it made it onto the record demonstrates a lot of stubbornness. It has so many changes and twists and turns that it was a bit of a hard sell to anyone I showed it to, but I felt like if I couldn’t figure it out the whole project would crumble. The opening guitar riff I sang in the shower for about a year before I actually laid it down, I think I just wanted to hear it in my head more than actually create it, hopefully the reality lives up to the fantasy. As with most of these songs, it’s coming from the voice of someone trying to convince someone else not to give up or leave, like saying “I know this is the right call, trust me and you’ll see it someday.” There was definitely some of that going in my real life with real people but it also represents the constant dialogue between what the hopeful, confident side of me says to the doubtful doomsayer side.

    The hook for this song came from my 4-year-old daughter at the time. I was playing the opening riff on the ukulele and she started singing “wake up wake up….too upset.” I recorded it on my phone and then boom, a song was born. I hope she doesn’t feel exploited when she grows up.


    the dodos grizzly peak new album cover art

    This is the only time this has happened to me and I swear it’s not an exaggeration, but this whole song was written in a dream. Music, words, everything. I remember singing the verses in my dream, repeating that “Sunrise/Sunset” part and then thinking in the dream, “Oh man, I gotta work on this song” so I actually did what I normally do and worked on it but all the while sleeping. When I woke up I had the whole thing ready and started to record. That was a good day.

    “Quiet Voices”:
    This song might be the most challenging Dodos song in terms of time signature and rhythm, it constantly switches between 5/4 and 6/4 but the repeating phrases are really long. It’s also probably the best demonstration of the guitar sound I built for this record, all of the guitar stuff is generated from one take of an acoustic guitar, just split up and processed differently. It was written on a drum machine and honestly I didn’t think a human could play it but of course Logan came into the studio and killed it.

    Never did I think I’d be singing the word “unicorn” so earnestly but this song is about getting in the way of my daughter just coming into being herself by trying to imbue all this misguided adult nonsense. It’s like when you think someone’s trying to do something but really they’re coming at it from a totally different place. In spite of their good intentions, parents can really complicate things when they’re actually quite simple. It definitely sucks when you realize you’ve done that as a parent and I wanted to sing about that.

    “The Surface”:
    The first version of this song was one of the first recordings I did and I really wanted to do the song more justice this time around. I also wanted it to be simpler, less overdubs and just relying on guitar and drums to carry it through. If there’s anything I want known about this song is that the synth-y sound towards the beginning of the song is not a synth but an acoustic guitar! Technology is amazing!