For their recent full-length, Grow Into It (released earlier this month with indie label, Big Scary Monsters) London trio, Doe are contemplating the notion of time. Those formative years from something awkward into something more self-assured, or as the band put it: “an antithesis of the overdone trope of male bands singing about rejecting adulthood.” It’s not a far-flung metaphor from their ascent through collated long-player, First Four – a collection of the group’s earlier EPs – into this more marked and heavier sound. In the studio, they had the help of producer Matthew Johnson (Hookworms, Suburban Home Studio) to carve out the chunky chords and colossal drums and, delightfully, live they’ve managed to capture a similarly arresting sound.
Recent single, ‘Labour Like I Do’ has the kind of intricate math guitars that wouldn’t be out of place coiled up alongside Biffy Clyro’s early-door Jaggy Snake while the dark tones of ‘Team Spirit’ artfully captures the band’s knack for brilliantly woven microcosms of human interactions. “I watch your favourite TV show….all the dialogue is see through / I compensate for your lack of effort / By laughing hard at the right times”, sings guitarist and vocalist, Nicola Leel. It’s every uncomfortable encounter with an over-baked affair or toxic family relationship. Between songs, Leel confesses this “might be her favourite gig. There are loads of people!” She’s quick to confirm it’s not just the turnout but we’re all really nice. Plus, “there are two people in the front row wearing Doe T-shirts so my ego is in a good place”.
And so is their set as they breeze through some back-catalogue blinders. ‘Sincere’ dishes out a more upfront confrontation – less silent sofa frustrations, morefull-throttlee rage at appropriated feminism. ‘Last Ditch’ is a proper bellowing chorus line that kicks off the dual-pronged vocals with drummer, Jake Popyura as the pair reason: “Maybe this will all just work itself out / Until then I hope that it will slow down”. Not yet guys, as we smack straight into the discordant skronk of ‘Even Fiction’ which soundtracks a moment of self-reflection (and standard snarky elder family member aside) contemplating what they have to show for themselves? Surely it’s all here in those blissful interwoven strings and pristine pop hooks.
No more evident than in set closer, ‘Heated’ which is straight out of the songwriting book of fellow indie funsters, Weezer with its stop-start guitars that leave us hoping it’s not the final guitar chug. Grow Into It? Doe is a band that certainly has and we’re all for embracing the years ahead if this is the soundtrack.
Main image by Andrew Northrop courtesy of Doe Facebook page