While their debut album, A Mouthful, reached the number one spot in France, The Do perhaps aren't especially well-known outside of Europe. Well, with the release of a hugely adventurous second long-player, the French/Finnish pair are clearly looking to take the next step and go truly global.
Their self-produced sophomore album is a broad, bold, diverse, eclectic affair. Just when you think you've got a handle on The Do's sound, Both Ways Open Jaws leaps somewhere else. For instance, Too Insistent is sweet indie-pop, Wicked and Blind mixes fuzzy alt-electro with sweeping orchestration, Calender is folky and quirky and Slippery Slope sees the band fuse tribal drums, an M.I.A. flavour and the kind of party vibe that makes Friendly Fires seem reserved.
Dan Levy proves himself to be quite the instrumentalist, playing, amongst other things, sax, trumpet, harpsichord and piano, while the emotional range in Olivia Merilahti's vocal is also very impressive. She is measured and pretty on opener Dust it Off, primal on Gonna Be Sick! and comes across all Joanna Newsom on The Calendar.
Its diversity of sound coupled with the fact that it has a running time of almost an hour means that Both Ways Open Jaws is somewhat hard to wrap your head around at first. But while it is a lot to take in, it's certainly worth the effort. What it lacks in obvious cohesion, it makes up for in invention and ambition and there are enough fine tunes and joie de vivre here to suggest The Do will be bothering the charts on faraway shores as well as at home.
Review by Bobby Townsend. It first appeared in Sydney's Drum Media.