Written and recorded after the death of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber's friend and touring guitarist Chris Reimer, Dodos' Carrier is neither funereal nor a celebratory wake, but a little bit of both. It begins with Long wondering on "Transformer," "What is a song? What is love?" as he reflects on the impact people have on each other. Later, on "Substance," it's equally jubilant and poignant when he sings "You will forget/And I will remember." Understandably, Carrier is more subdued than their previous album, the bold, counterintuitively named No Color, and the band downplays Kroeber's dramatic percussion on most of these songs. However, Long's singing and guitars are as sweet and chiming as ever, particularly on delicate tracks like "The Current," the aching "Holidays," and the mournful album closer, "The Ocean." Over the course of Carrier, the band slowly introduces livelier moments such as "Confidence," which aptly enough boasts a self-assured swagger reminiscent of No Color, and "Stranger," which contrasts Kroeber's galloping rhythms with Long's bittersweet melody in a quintessentially Dodos way. With the inclusion of songs like "Relief" -- which lives up to its name when its big chorus kicks in -- and the ironically rousing "Destroyer," Carrier ends up being a remarkably balanced meditation on joy and loss, as well as one of the more nuanced albums in Dodos' body of work.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares