Glittery Sixties Girl-Group Pop
French/Finnish two-piece, The Dø, was the first band to sing completely in English to rise to number #1 in France with their debut album. This was a surprise, since the French, as a people, are so loyal to their culture, in part their language – the common thread between them – which is why The Dø’s success was such a shock. As a musical group, they are not loyal to any musical genre. The mix pop, rock, folk and hip-hop in a cohesive way in their latest album, Shake Shook Shaken.
From the beginning it’s clear what will hold this musical mosaic together: the amazing vocal powers of front-woman, Olivia Merilahti. On the opening track, “Keep Your Lips Sealed,” she recalls the childlike vocals of Ronnie Spector and more recently, fellow alternative front-woman, Cults’ Madeline Follin. While on the a cappella opening of “Trustful Hands,” she shows her ability to both harmonize and belt it out. In contrast, on “Anita No!” she uses soft whisper during the verses and wailing falsetto in the choruses taking from quiet-loud dynamic of alternative rock. While all of these are varied vocal performances, the one thing that holds it together is her vocal tone: tried and true, like a primary color.
The production and instrumentation, done by band-mate, Dan Levy, is where all of the variety and weirdness comes into play. The music on “Keep Your Lips Sealed” mirrors Merilahti’s vocals with a wall of sound, Phil Spector-esque, sixties girl group production. If that sixties girl group had a drum machine and a trap/hip-hop influence. Meanwhile, on “Miracles (Back in Time)” the synths and the drums flitter and flutter like the rapid beats of a hummingbird’s wings; and “Anita No!” has synth that sound as though they could have come out of a ray gun on star trek. It’s an interesting and idiosyncratic musical album without being boring. To the contrary, it’s damn catchy.
Unlike the other idiosyncratic indie albums, their lyrics also carry weight. Particularly, on “Trutstful Hands,” where she sings: “Comes and goes comes and goes / Chaos is my second home / I don’t mind where I land / As long as I’m in trustful hands.”
It’s wildly inventive pop that is both entertaining and challenging. They may not be loyal to one musical genre. The only thing they are loyal to is good music.