The Dø: Both Ways Open Jaws

the do, both ways open jawsThe Dø: Both Ways Open Jaws
One of the benefits of having run a blog for the last six years is that I get to watch artists grow and develop. I remember when I received The Dø‘s debut album, A Mouthful in 2008. The male/female duo seemed to be an eclectic mix of The Ting Tings, Tom Waits, and Feist. Three years later, the group releases their sophomore album, Both Ways Open Jaws which sees them better synthesize their influences into a streamlined mix.
The streamlined mix means that the band has dropped certain things from their repertoire. Gone is the “rapping” that sounded like a mix between The Ting Tings and Blondie. In its place is a more mature sound.
Take the lead single, “Slippery Slope” for example. The track begins with a tribal drum beat while lead singer, Olivia Merilahti sings a vocal line that sounds like something from M.I.A.‘s Kala. As the song develops, the listener realizes that all that is heard on the track is percussion. Band member, Dan Levy adds the slightest bit of piano at one point but it is certainly not a noticeable part of the song. These kind of experimental arrangements seem to be a hallmark of the album.
The follow up single to “Slippery Slope”, “Too Insistent” has a little fuller arrangement. The track features traditional instruments like bass, guitar, and drums but it also features more esoteric instrumentation like trumpet, saxophone, violin, viola, and cello. The track seems like a complete 180 from “Slippery Slope” yet the track still feels very much like a Dø track.
Not often does The Dø get off message on Both Ways Open Jaws. The album is concise, strong, and focused. If this trajectory continues, it is not out of the realm of possibility that this band could make serious “album of the year” contenders for years to come.
Rating: 7.8/10
MP3: The Dø “Too Insistent”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!

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