The Dø

Both Ways Open Jaws

BY Whitney TamPublished Nov 15, 2011

The intrigue of mystery only lasts so long, so a strong, sturdy hook is a necessity if a band hope to retain attention. If Olivia Merilahti's elfin warble is the live bait, then the genre-bending quality of the Dø's intricate multi-instrument ensembles is the steel hook. The French/Finnish duo of Merilahti and Dan Levy have the indie formula down pat, hook, line and sinker, on Both Ways Open Jaws. Their sophomore effort sashays between genre expectations so much so that one could easily list the echoes, from the organic bohemian aesthetic of Lykke Li to the orchestral arrangements of Sufjan Stevens. The difference, however, is the immediate catchiness of the Dø's brand of candour. "Too Insistent" is so sweet that you can't help but let a slow smile spread across your face, yet it's not so cavity-inducing that it falls into twee territory. The composition of "Quake, Mountain, Quake" has a very Sufjan Stevens (à la The Age of Adz) quality, with accompanying choir shouts, an organically electric make-up and jarring, cacophonic crescendo. Admittedly, it may take more than one listen to fully appreciate the full spectrum the album covers. Both Ways Open Jaws, upon first listen, may seem slightly kitschy or gimmicky because it does so much experimentation in such a neat, focused package. However, it's an album that's so far from boring you'll catch something new in the arrangement with each listen. And let's face it, with albums sounding more and more like one continuous recording broken up into separate tracks, what more can you ask for?
(Six Degrees)

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