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.
The 13-track LP is a journey through literally every aspect and tendency of modern indie music. There’s the subliminally destructive and uber kitschy “Gonna Be Sick!”, which is as close to an adult sing-along song as one could ever find. Then, just a few tracks later, there’s the quaint and lonesome-sounding “Was It A Dream?”, which sparkles with the afterglow of folk and country music thanks to Merilahti ‘s angelic vocals.
And unlike albums where the creative mojo eventually dries up, the band continues to combine various influences with the greatest of ease. “Slippery Slope” deserves its own genre; it’s an intelligent fusion of tribal drumming and vaguely hip-hop sounds for the coolest rap-rock creation in years. “B.W.O.J.” is a freak-fest of an instrumental, all mutilated jazz and vintage electronic instrumentation for an experience that builds into something really transcendental. Even the traditional, safe rock of “The Wicked & The Blind” proves to be a rollicking good time.
The band takes risks left and right, with impressive results. But more than just being good at sewing together various musical strands, the pair makes songs that are still decidedly their own. In an era where music comes from literally every corner of the globe right to our fingertips, The Dø makes an alluring sound that is more integrated and effective than the UN.
Essential Tracks: “Was It A Dream?”, “The Wicked & The Blind”, “B.W.O.J.”