The Dø

Both Ways Open Jaws

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The Dø's sophomore album keeps up the genre-hopscotching whimsicality of the debut while also urging us to approach music more innocently. The subtle difference is apparent from the best song on Both Ways Open Jaws, video selection "Too Insistent": Where "At Last!" holds back from excessively gloating about love, this song rejects our advances altogether; rather than smolder with melancholy, it perches Merilahti's elfin coo atop the kind of meticulously off-kilter, orchestral, and kids-choir uplift that makes Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago" or Jónsi's "Go Do" such hits with movie licensing dudes. The narrator compares herself to "a tiny toe," and questions "people who act like they think they have seen it all/ They're so indifferent." She's right and she's wrong; it's often easier to dismiss someone else's personal preference by labeling them as too-cool-for-school hipsters than it is to engage with the possibility they're right.
More often than not, the contradictions between the band's knowing appropriations and its calls against jaded cynicism resolve themselves in the album's intricately rewarding attention to rich and unexpected sonic details. As Both Ways Open Jaws traipses from the Tom Waits-via-Lykke Li boho-hobo hoedown of "Gonna Be Sick!" to charming electro-folk waltz "The Calendar", it makes plenty of detours for unlikely avant-pop percussion and warped vocal effects. There's even another kiddie-M.I.A. song, the tribal chirp of "Slippery Slope". On lilting, piano-cracked opener "Dust It Off", Merilahti claims, "Nothing has been before." Between the elegiac folkie guitars and electronic squelches of "The Wicked & the Blind", she adds, "Forget your knowledge/ Forget the past/ You were somehow born today." But it isn't that easy, is it? While this time around the Dø have covered another ubiquitous-in-2008 pop song-- Kings of Leon's breakthrough "Sex on Fire" in a recent BBC session-- it might be hard to hear the similarities in terms of head-slapping lowest-common-denominator commercial potential. Then again: Both Ways Open Jaws has teeth like a shark. - Pitchfork

The Dø: Both Ways Open Jaws

Dust It Off The Dø 3'44''
Gonna Be Sick The Dø 4'11''
The Wicked And The Blind The Dø 5'09''
Too Insistent The Dø 3'31''
Bohemian Dances The Dø 4'25''
Smash Them All (Night Visitors) The Dø 5'14''
Leo Leo The Dø 3'32''
B.W.O.J The Dø 1'45''
Slippery Slope The Dø 2'43''
The Calender The Dø 4'04''
Was It A Drea? The Dø 3'07''
Ouake, Mountain, Ouake The Dø 2'12''
Moon Mermaids The Dø 2'27''
The Bridge Is Broken The Dø 4'44''
On My Shoulders The Dø 5'21''

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