the do a mouthful
  • FRIDAY, APRIL 16, 2010

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Franco-Finnish duo The Do (rhymes with "glow") were the first band to reach the #1 spot in France with an album sung in English. Pretty impressive. Now they're releasing that album, A Mouthful (6 Degrees), in the U.S. From the get go, the sound is...er, strange. But good strange. There's a good strange mash up of different sounding instruments and interesting styles. Which actually makes this one of the best debut albums to come knocking 'round these parts in a while. The vibe is a relaxing one. With it being Friday and all, that's a pretty good thing.

On the album's opener, "Playground Hustle," listeners are treated to the lovely sounds of...children, taunting us grown-ups with fearless lines like, "We are not afraid of you grown-ups!". Somehow it makes for a surprisingly refreshing noise (which is weird because if a child said that to me in real life, I'd Chris Brown their mother (too soon?))...especially when set against a militant drum corps, the programmed sounds of a didgeridoo-sounding instrument, and Finnish front woman Olivia Merilahti's beautiful, tiny voice. "At Last!" begins with a psychedelic guitar riff reminiscent of another time all together. Even your iTunes visualizer will probably agree, matching the faint, hippie vibe with a flurry of acid-trippy images. Dan Levy, the French half of the duo, really does a good job adding to the feel with tambourines, a harmonica, and the aforementioned guitar. "On My Shoulders" bonds tricky wordplay, a steady beat, and gentle yet commanding touches of electric guitar and overzealous strings.

"Unissasi Laulelet," Olivia's nod to her Finnish roots, starts with unaccompanied lyrics (in Finnish, of course) against her multitracked vocals. A modest percussion section gives the song a folks-y feel. "Tammie" has lyrics any youth in revolt can relate to ("Why would you treat me like a child?"), and a unique style all it's own. At first it's country, but after that? Maybe 60's pop, or even something a bit more modern (the 90's?). By the time "Queen Dot Kong" rolls around, it's fairly evident The Do enjoy blindsiding their listener. That track immediately hits with a funky saxophone flourish and Olivia's almost-rapping vocals that, at times, seem processed through strange filters. It is a pleasant surprise, though.

All in all, this album is a great first effort...though that's probably not the best word. Listening to it, the album sounds nothing like an effort. Mostly, it just succeeds. Here, the versatile duo pumps out a little something for everyone...and then some. Talk about A Mouthful. - hanna kasper

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MP3:"On My Shoulders" - A Mouthful
The Do on Myspace

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