To make Certainty Waves, their seventh album as The Dodos, guitarist Meric Long and percussionist Logan Kroeber had to forget everything they knew about what it meant to be The Dodos. Like the duo’s breakout sophomore album Visiter (which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2018), Certainty Waves finds The Dodos embracing the unlimited possibilities of a time when there were no preconceptions of what the band should sound like.
Questions like whether the band needed to be more than just “acoustic guitar and drums,” and just what exactly the ratio should be of acoustic vs. electric guitar suddenly took a backseat to the realization that so much emphasis was mistakenly being put on form rather than spirit. Perhaps not surprisingly, this epiphany occurred while the band was re-learning Visiter for a show in which they were to perform the record in its entirety. “It completely surprised me how much electric guitar is on that record,” reveals Long. “The narrative had always been we were just acoustic guitar and drums.”
This ostensibly simple observation was pivotal in unlocking a new approach to the material Long and Kroeber would later put to tape in the studio. “Rather than thinking about the end result or considering the reaction of the listener, I tried to give in to gut reactions, first impulses, however silly or untrue to form they may be,” says Long. “If it was exciting in any way, we pursued it without hesitancy or question.”
What began to emerge from the band’s rehearsals was a quasi post-punk sound that Long immediately gravitated toward. It felt new and different, yet somehow still fundamentally “Dodos.” And so, Certainty Waves was born. “Certainty Waves is our midlife crisis record,” acknowledges Long. “Who we thought we were, how mistaken we were, how an interference in the trajectory can flip your understanding of what came before.”