Release Date: Feb 10, 2015
Record label: Wagram
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic
Review Summary: Eclectic, unique, and captivating to its very core.The Dø aren’t exactly a household name in America, and that’s a shame. It’s the reason that, even though the band debuted at number one on French charts in the past and has just returned to claim another top ten spot, I still can’t find another soul who is more than vaguely aware of their existence. In fact, most of the time people just assume I’m talking about dough, mispronouncing “do”, or choking on a pretzel.
On their first two albums Paris-based duo the Dø often took the scenic route when it came to melodies, contorting their avant-garde poems into experimental shapes. Despite its awkward title, tThird album Shake Shook Shaken offers a refinement of their sound, the ramshackle percussion of old replaced by warm synths and laptop beats. The more structured approach pays off, opener Keep Your Lips Sealed recalling vintage Broadcast, while the stuttering Opposite Ways caresses Olivia Merilahti’s tense yelp into something softer.
After completing the Both Ways Open Jaws tour, the Dø looked for a new creative path. Finding inspiration in the abstract electronics of Fuck Buttons and Kanye West's Yeezus, they emerged with Shake Shook Shaken, a set of songs trading kitchen sink experimentalism for sharp-edged electropop. It's a transformation for the better -- even though Mouthful and Both Ways Open Jaws had plenty of eclectic charms, the clearly defined aesthetic here allows them to concentrate on making pop that's addictively weird and catchy.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Escaping their daily lives in Paris, Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy fled to the countryside to record their third studio album. Discovering an 18th century water tower, they took the opportunity to transform it into their recording space. Amongst the rural surroundings, they pursued a sound more synthetic in texture than their previous work, created in an almost medieval setting.
Over the last few years, it seems as if Scandinavia had mastered this pop music business. Whether it be sad, melancholic but still danceable pop like Robyn or Lykke Li, heartwarming acoustic harmonies such as First Aid Kit, or The Knife‘s wilfully eccentric and challenging electro-experimentalism, our friends over in Denmark, Sweden and Norway know how to create blissful, strange and wonderful music. The Dø may be half-Finnish, but in reality are as French as an episode of a BBC4 subtitled Saturday night crime drama.
Like the jarring post-credits scene in the ’80s cult classic Masters of the Universe where Skeletor emerges from a magenta lake to growl, “I’ll be back!”, the strange instrumental closing track on The Dø’s third album, Shake Shook Shaken, surfaces unexpectedly to hint at the Paris-based duo’s future. Part horror flick chase scene, part Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera”, “The Omen” bumps like something gone wrong in the night (or someone who got hold of a Casio keyboard with a Halloween effects button). It’s a startling departure from a release that’s already making a purposeful retreat from a past steeped in folky flourishes.
Franco-Finnish duo The Dø approached the recording of their new album Shake Shook Shaken like many modern indie acts do: wanting to streamline their sound, they cut out any acoustic elements in favor of a simplistic palette of synths and drum machines. When executed well, going fully synthetic can be a good move for artists, even if it's no longer revolutionary. Shake contains several moments that touch on such brilliance, but taken as a whole, the album sounds too one-note and even grating at times.
It’s been almost four years since The Dø released a record, the marvellous escapade that was 2011’s Both Ways Open Jaws, and in the time since, the French/Finnish two-piece of Dan Levy and Olivia Merilahti have had more than enough time to blueprint their next course of action. Their decision? To forego natural timbres, and sculpt a long-player “about chaos and redemption and guilt and these biblical values” via synthetic means.? The record dawns with jerky future-anthem “Keep Your Lips Sealed”. It’s bustling with parpy stabs of synth and wargame drums, and it flits with robotic erraticism between the art-rock of St.