Release Date: Nov 15, 2011
Record label: Six Degrees
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock
On their sophomore album Both Ways Open Jaws, French-Finnish duo the Dø blend genre influences as disparate as the bare bones indie pop of Lykke Li, the orchestral folk of Joanna Newsom, and the globally minded hip-hop of MIA. It’s a potentially precarious balancing act that is solidly anchored by Olivia Merilahti’s dynamic and engaging singing voice, and the subtly inventive instrumentation of composer and producer Dan Levy. Whereas many of today’s genre-melding indie artists rely heavily upon the use of electronics and loop based songwriting, Both Ways Open Jaws is an album that is rich with live, organic instrumentation as Merilahti and Levy channel their infectious pop numbers through an eclectic ensemble of pianos, guitars, strings, brass and live percussion.
The Dø had a No 1 album in France last year with A Mouthful, which showed off their frothier take on combining the Knife-style eccentricities and the melancholy MOR of the later Cardigans albums. This, their followup, is finally getting an official UK release seven months after it first surfaced. It's a focused, determined sequel, sharpening their sometimes uneven sound to a dreamy, sepia-tinged set of songs that are far more elegant than the punk-pop-ish titles – Gonna Be Sick!, Smash Them All (Night Visitors) – would let on.
It’s a commonly held truth that when it comes to decent European pop, Scandinavia is where it’s at and France is where it definitely is not. However, on their second album, French/Finnish duo [b]The Dø[/b] are helping l’Hexagone conquer the Vikings. ‘[b]Both Ways Open Jaws[/b]’ is tribal, prickly and wickedly playful, courtesy of singer [b]Olivia Merilahti[/b]’s loopy vocal.
Finnish vocalist Olivia Merilahti and French multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy are nothing if not aware of other pop music. The best song on the duo's debut album as the Dø, 2008's A Mouthful, is a bittersweet rewriting of Etta James' walking-down-the-aisle standby "At Last", a take that makes the 1960 original sound inappropriately boastful by comparison-- not least by swapping out the classic song's orchestral swoon for understated, autumnal indie rock recalling Liz Phair, Mary Timony, or Sleater-Kinney. The first song on the album, "Playground Hustle", could be described as "M.I.A.
Both France and Finland are the homes to many a great band. The former has Air and Serge Gainsbourg, while the latter has DJ Proteus and Apocalyptica. But when you put both countries together, you get indie rock duo The Dø. Comprised of Finnish vocalist Olivia B Merilahti and French multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy, the band’s sophomore album, Both Ways Open Jaws, is an immensely compelling synthesis of both nation’s sounds: the quaint and cute pop-rock of Paris and the bizarre experimentation of Helsinki.
Fusing folk, indie rock, electronica, and avant-garde pop with unusual percussion including bottle tops, plants, and saucepans, Both Ways Open Jaws is the second album from experimental French-Finnish freak pop duo the Do. Compared to the likes of Fever Ray, Lykke Li, and the Knife, the genre-hopping follow-up to 2008's A Mouthful is the first English-language album by a native act to top the French charts, and includes the singles "Dust It Off," "Slippery Slope," and "Too Insistent." .
The kind of intriguing ‘oddness’ the likes of Florence Welch strain and wheeze for. Chris Roberts 2011 This French-Finnish duo – pronounced The "Dough", thanks to that slashed O, the reviewer’s typing nightmare – met in 2005 while working on music for films and ballets. Their brand of indie-pop will find adjectives like ‘quirky’ and ‘eccentric’ sticking to it like burrs.
This is 2011, get it?! And "culture" – inc. global, pop, and big-C varieties – is nothing but a free all-you-can-eat buffet for consumption and regurgitation of ideas. Everything is in your reach and you have to try it because it is there. Don't you? You have to exercise your freedoms. You have ….