Dopapod Keep the Jam Party Flowing on Self-titled LP (ALBUM REVIEW)

Photo credit: Michael Weintrob

If you’re trying to describe Dopapod to someone, you’ll find it’s not an easy task. You could start by saying that all of the album titles (like the band name itself) are anagrams. But then when you try to describe what the band sounds like, you would have to say that there are elements of jam rock, prog rock, and funk, among other components.

The new self-titled album doesn’t make the band any less challenging to categorize. The album came after a planned hiatus that was lengthened by COVID-19. Of the new album, drummer Neal Evans said, “The hiatus allowed us to redefine ourselves, and carry on with a lot of new energy. It was a restorative opportunity and helped us move forward. We definitely came back with new energy and new intention.” It doesn’t take long to get a sense of the energy that went into making this album.

“Black Holes” is a particularly interesting song. It was made to be played at festivals at night where the audience may indulge in certain substances. It has a disco beat that is just made to go with a light show and a bass line that is sure to make you shake whatcha got. The lyrics come across as a stream of consciousness, particularly with lines like, “Neurons linking, eyes are blinking, mind imprinting, thoughts keep thinking theoretically, gravitation explanation parabolic acceleration hypothetically.” Meanwhile the vocal delivery is similar to what you hear in Phish songs.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is “Fannie”. It is much more subdued both in tempo and mood than the other songs. The guitar in this song has a sort of bluesy feel with a touch of psychedelia due to all the sustained, spacey notes. “Ebb and Flow” is another mellow song that stands apart from the other songs that are much more suited for a party playlist. This one features some acoustic guitar that is backed by some psychedelic sounds.To call this an album is correct but insufficient. It is better described as a sonic journey where you never know what you might hear next. It could be a funky bassline or a spacey organ sound that would make Billy Preston proud. The guitar ranges from progressive rock riffs to the bluesy slide at the beginning of “Nuff”. The lyrics range from the multisyllabic and confounding to the self-affirming lines like “I am enough.”. 

It is a party album that is also cerebral and introspective. Oh, and on top of all of that, the vinyl version of the album includes a board game that is played on the album cover. Regardless of how you classify it, it is an enjoyable experience. So prepare your favorite beverage, crank the volume, and just enjoy the ride that is Dopapod.

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