Jam band Dopapod offer more lyrical tracks on fourth LP

Dopapod has figured out what works, and they aren't backing down.

The Boston-based band's most recent album, Never Odd or Even, which dropped on Tuesday, is the perfect step forward for the quartet.

Never Odd or Even is the jam band's fourth studio release, and the experience shows. The group's first two albums were strictly instrumental, mixing trippy bass lines with expert guitar riffs. In 2012, the band broke its own mold with Redivider, its first crack at tracks with lyrics. Never Odd or Even picks up where the strong Redivider left off, mixing lyrical tracks with instrumentals.

Their latest offering is their best. The sound bounces from manic to mellow throughout, aided by the enchanting vocals of Rob Compa.

It's hard to nail the band down when it comes to genre. Sure, "jam band" acts like a safety net below Dopapod's high-wire act, but the band incorporates bits of metal, jazz fusion, and even dance hall country.

"Hey Zeus" is probably the most unique track in an album full of distinctive songs. One of the instrumental jams, "Zeus" is a strange mixture of acid-dipped guitar strings and honky-tonk riffs; think Umphrey's Mcgee playing in a saloon with swinging doors.

The album starts out strong with "Present Ghost." At just over eight minutes, it's one of the longest songs on the record. Up-tempo and transformative, it's reminiscent of the Grateful Dead's classic Terrapin Station.

Never Odd or Even gets better through its first third before slowing things down on the fourth track. "FABA," the first instrumental offering on the record, takes listeners on a journey that starts with a waltz, but quickly turns into a David Bowie-tinged roller coaster.

As a whole, the album is solid. While jam bands often get the reputation of being road-trip soundtracks and dorm-room background music, Dopapod is more. Dopapod is so much more.

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