Powerful, intense, and coherent are the adjectives used the describe the upcoming release of Shake Shook Shaken by The Dø, a Franco-Finnish duo. This is the third album by the duo – comprised of Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy – and it has taken the No. 1 spot on the Overall Album chart on iTunes France. Shake Shook Shaken will be released in the States on January 27th, 2015 via Siamese Squids, the band’s own label.
Shake Shook Shaken is a departure from the duo’s sound on 2008’s A Mouthful – which went to #1 in France, making the duo the first French act singing in English to do so – and 2011’s Both Ways Open Jaws. Following those releases, Merilahti and Levy traded in their acoustic instruments for a keyboard and laptop, because they wanted to shine light on previously undervalued sounds and harness them to create electronically minded pop music.
The duo set to work in their studio located inside an 18th Century water tower. And according to a press release, “Their aim was to create an epic album with elements of heroism, comedy and manga whilst making sure to keep the finished sounds pure and restrained.” They were also influenced by hip-hop and club style music, and found “these sounds to be the most innovative at the moment and kept the idea of revolutionary mainstream music by the likes of Die Antwoord, Kanye West and Beyonce” in mind during the recording process.
And, another part of the influence behind Shake Shook Shaken comes from a Finnish word and concept found in Merilahti’s homeland.
“In Finland, there is ‘sisu’, a sense of resilience and bravery that is a common, ancestral value to the Finns. Whatever happens, we don’t let go, we keep moving on. This followed us while writing the album,” she explained in a press release. “My lyrics are more or less surreal poems, on this record I talk a lot about finding oneself in chaos and knowing how to live with it.”
The new album has unifying songs, from the introductory ‘Keep Your Lips Sealed,’ and the solemn ‘A Mess Like This,’ to the vibrant ‘Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy’. And, the track ‘Miracles (Back in Time)’ is considered by the duo to be a “pillar” of the twelve songs on the album. With Shake Shook Shaken, The Dø will take their audience on a journey that includes military rhythms, tribal vibes and cosmic depths.
The duo provided a sample of their new material by premiering the video for ‘Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy’ – the last song they’d written for the album – via The Fader.
In an email exchange with Fader, the band explained the inspiration for the song, writing:
“It was initially inspired by life on the road with its emotional highs and lows and intense traveling. It’s also an apology to people we hurt because of a devouring devotion to a cause, be it artistic or not. I guess it’s common to people on a mission, despite the sacrifices and the guilt, one must move on. In the end we must deal with extreme emotions over and over again. I wanted to make it a positive progression, ecstasy being the ultimate goal. We’re all desperately trying to freeze it there, aren’t we?”
The video opens with a close up shot of Merilahti in an airfield at twilight dressed in an outfit that is seemingly inspired by the iconic 1940’s image of Rosie the Riveter. It goes on to feature Merilahti and Devy relaxing on an airplane’s engine, and dancing together on the runway. Musically, ‘Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy” is an invigorated blend of synth pop and electronic music.
Check it out:
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