The Dø | Both Ways Open Jaws

Six Degrees Records (2011)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  December 14, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars

the do - m
For people put off by the epic grandeur of Björk's recent Biophilia multimedia spectacle and longing for the song structures of Post and Homogenic, Both Ways Open Jaws will more than suffice. It's a sophomore effort that has the boy/girl French-Finnish duo kicking up the sonic peculiarities several notches since their acclaimed 2008 debut, A Mouthful, but retaining the kind of clarity that makes indie-pop so damn appealing in the first place. Much of it has to do with Olivia Merilahti (the Finn) and her celestial yet capricious vocals. She can sound wounded and full of pleading at times ("Too Insistent") and downright edgy and confident at others ("Slippery Slope"). Multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy (the Frenchman) is the out-there half of the Dø. He breaks out horns, fancy string arrangements, glockenspiel, a recorder, and elements of free jazz — sometimes all in one song. Unavoidable comparisons to the Icelandic princess and her early years aside, Both Ways Open Jaws sounds familiar while breaking new ground.
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