So go ahead and listen to this song. Shrug and put it aside for two weeks or so. Listen to it again. Go: “Hm. I actually kind of like this! A lot, even.” Well okay, you don’t have to do any of that, but that’s surely what I did. Listening to music can be a flitty and unpredictable affair.
So, “Tammie”: kitchen-sink indie pop, sweetly nutty, with the large-scale energy of the Arcade Fire school of 21st-century rock, but achieved instead via a stripped-down, organic vibe driven by hand-claps and odd vocalizations and peopled by a simple (but multinational) duo—French/Finnish Olivia Merilahti and the Parisian Dan Levy. Where the song takes off, for me, is here: when the insistent, twice-repeated minor-key melodic lines of the verse resolve in the third iteration (first heard around 0:41)—such a smooth and unexpected chord slips in right there in the middle of all the staccato insistence. Check out the next time this comes up, with those invigorating harmonies (1:24, but keep listening). Another wonderful moment is when the repeated chant of the bridge, with all its percussive drive, morphs (1:47) into an orchestral interlude, featuring an enticing influx of woodwind-like sounds.
The Dø is pronounced like the first note of the scale (“‘do’ a deer,” etc.)—even though the “ø” (in languages that use it) is actually pronounced more like the “u” in “hurt.” And while the word “dø” means “die” in Danish and Norwegian, the band says the name comes simply from combining the letters of their first names. (D’oh!) “Tammie” can be found on their debut CD, A Mouthful, which was originally released last year in Europe, and given an American release this month on Get Down Records.