With their first two albums, 2008’s A Mouthful and 2011’s Both Ways Open Jaws, French-Finnish outfit The Dø forged a tantalizing blend of earnest folk and crunchy freak-pop. Now, the duo of Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy is embark on a “radical change,” according to a press release, with the release of its latest LP, Shake Shook Shaken, due out January 27th, 2015 via the band’s own Siamese Squids imprint.
Recording in its personal studio — a “pastoral 18th century water tower” — the duo “deliberately set down their acoustic instruments to focus on a more minimal set-up of a keyboard and laptop.” Explains Merilahti, “We quickly became obsessed with this set-up; this form of minimalism, banning ‘real’ instruments to the point of creating a new work ethic. Our aim with Shake Shook Shaken was to take ownership of the sounds that had previously been undervalued, while going with a more pop aesthetic. We wanted to make a luminous record to reach as many people as possible, without having it fall in on itself.”
Luminous certainly describes the 12-track effort’s latest single, “Sparks”. The duo’s minimalist approach is hardly noticeable on this grand, sweeping ballad, a bold mixture of glitchy electronics and a romantic-to-the-Nth degree string section. The heart and soul, though, is Merilahti’s vocals, a croon of equal parts angel and introvert that really sets off the overall sonic dichotomy.
Merilahti says the song is about “people in exile searching for new cities, new landmarks, traveling through no man’s land.” She added, “It’s the poetic side of a post-apocalyptic situation. When Dan sent me the instrumental track, I had in mind the kids choir from the New York school PS22 that I love. I imagined them singing the chorus with their hands on their hearts. On the verses we wanted something very bare. It’s a healing song for us, and it’s one of our favorites on stage.”
Shake Shook Shaken Tracklist:
01. Keep Your Lips Sealed
02. Trustful Hands
03. Miracles (Back In Time)
05. Going Through Walls
06. Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy
07. Anita No!
08. A Mess Like This
09. Lick My Wounds
10. Opposite Ways
11. Nature Will Remain