Albums O’Month: The Dø – Both Ways Open Jaws
Published on November 22nd, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
The buzz: French-Finnish duo with surprisingly Googlable name – particularly given its concession to pedagogical solmization – release follow-up to 2008 debut A Mouthful, a record which seems to be settling into a beguiling, gently burning groove before suddenly switching on to luscious samba, barmy modern R&B, obligatorily Gallic displays of smoky chic and other tangents; all of which is still not enough to prepare you for the monumental psychedelic wonderland that is Both Ways Open Jaws.
Sounds like: You’re kidding, right? That depends heavily on which track you’re talking about; and, even then, reference points don’t exactly rain down. Basically, there’s the creepily spellbinding “Dust It Off”, the soft, glowing keys of which would lull you sweetly into the dark depths of a forest even without Olivia Merilahti’s siren-like vocal, the PJ Harvey-esque “Gonna Be Sick!”, which somehow manages to rescue the words “I’m going to throw up” from lyrical taboo status, and the jittery, beamed-in-from-above majesty of “The Wicked & The Blind”.
As an opening one-two-three hit, it’s as good as anything this year.”Too Insistent” and “Bohemian Dances” are lovely if not so otherworldly, before “Smash Them All (Night Visitors)” Björks/Bonds up proceedings in arresting fashion. “Leo Leo” is like a shimmering rock pool, liquid and intensely magical, while “Slippery Slope” recreates the tremendously pleasing R&B shock that was provided on A Mouthfulby “Queen Dot Kong”.
“The Calendar” is a delightfully frivolous form of baroque chamber pop, “Was It A Dream?” a bountifully rewarding slow-burner, “Quake Moutain Quake” is as vast a psych-pop wig-out as could possibly be conceived of within the confines of two minutes and twelve seconds, and the album is capped in fittingly glowing fashion by the floaty-light bliss-out of “Mood Mermaids”, a spectacularly apt choice of title we might add.
In a few words: Modern experimental pop music at its most enchantingly confounding.
Kind of like a cross between: Goldrapp – Felt Mountain and The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow