Album Review: Papadosio – “T.E.T.I.O.S.”

The maturation of a band isn’t something that you can quantify — it’s something that you feel. Like the old saying goes: “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it (or in this case, hear it).” In the case of Papadosio, with their third studio album T.E.T.I.O.S., the level of maturation is absolutely remarkable. That isn’t to put down their first two albums, both of which were very good. But T.E.T.I.O.S. has a certain clarity of vision & complete cohesiveness that is leaps beyond what they did in the past. This is a breakthrough album if there ever was one.

If their goal was creating a deep musical excursion, they nailed it in every way. This sprawling, 20 track double disc album creates a journey that is patient, inquisitive, and, most of all, comfortable. The whole thing fits really well into a consistent theme: this grounded yet ethereal soundscape that evokes imagery as well as makes you want to dance. It’s simultaneously thought-provoking and electrifying, a rare combination in the realm of ‘jam-electronic’ albums. From start to finish the production is extremely crisp, leaving no question about how intense & focused they were in making this album.

The true beauty of T.E.T.I.O.S. comes in the blending of newer, lightly-played songs with road-tested & beloved songs. The new tracks “We Are Water” and “Stick Figure” are both riffs on an instrumental approach, but coming from different directions. “We Are Water” is very electronic, a pure dance song with intricate percussion and fantastic use of samples. Whereas “Stick Figure” is a much more organic, jam-oriented tune that just floats, before finally ending up in a beautiful guitar crescendo. Essentially two different attitudes, both arriving at the same gorgeous place.

Then there are the songs Dosio fans have come to love: “Cue,” “Now That You Know,” “Find Your Cloud,” and the explosive “Method Of Control.” It’s always great to hear songs you’re used to live done up in studio fashion, and these four songs are a true testament to Papadosio’s acumen in both settings. “Cue” went the extra mile of incorporating a mandolin in this version, something that is obviously not done live. And “Now That You Know” has this crazy little interlude, with all sorts of production slight of hand and mind-boggling sonic interplay, which is also not done live (and frankly, not really possible).

If you’ve seen Papadosio over the last year, you’ve noticed that “Method Of Control” has started to become a ‘big gun,’ one of those songs that really drives up the energy and plays very well as an encore. So it was a little curious that they tucked it into the gooey center of the album, but its placement didn’t strip any of its power. “Method Of Control” is the cornerstone of Dosio’s progression as a band, the perfect collision of each member’s influence, creating a tune that is a microcosm of the band — Dosio in a nutshell. But don’t let that phrase downplay the scope of this song, “Method Of Control” is a magnum opus, a new “Polygons” or “The Eyes Have Eyes,” from which the next direction of Dosio will alight. And based on the brilliance of T.E.T.I.O.S., there is truly no limit on what this band is capable of. This album is possibly the finest ‘jam-electronic’ album ever made and crowns them as the current champions of this ever-expanding genre.

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Jeremy Frazier is the editor-in-chief of Soundfuse.