Django Django - Django Django - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Django Django - Django Django

by Andy Brown Rating:7 Release Date:2012-02-02

Initially, it's a disappointment. You mean to tell me that this London via Edinburgh four-piece aren't a tribute act to jazz-guitarist Django Reinhardt? Well, that would explain why they're in the NME. Then you listen to the record and you can see why they chose to name themselves after such an innovative, forward thinking musician. It's still a million miles away from jazz, though; the trouble is describing exactly what it is Django Django do. The 'indie' label (with its current connections to pedestrian/stadium rock) doesn't really sit comfortably with the array of sounds and beats coming out of my speakers.

'Introduction' starts with bird calls (or is that crickets?) and gradually building krautrock synths before big tribal drums and a bit of whistling comes in and it's kind of like the opening titles to a Sergio Leone western but set in the future. If that makes any sense? It's also a whole heap of fun to listen to. This track seeps effortlessly into the wonderful Beta Band strut of 'Hail Bop' and Django Django have pulled you well and truly into their world. Apparently, one of them is actually related to a member of The Beta Band and as they sing here, "Something starts to make sense".

'Default' is a stuttering Hot Chip-esque floor-filler with the band informing us that, "You thought you'd made the grade, all you made will start to fade… Take one for the team, you're a cog in the machine". Django Django are here to effectively wipe the slate clean and drag 'indie' out of stadiums and towards innovation. 'Firewater' is all hand claps and campfire sing-along with a dash of electronica thrown in for good measure. It sounds like The Beta Band (yep, them again) at their folktronica best. 'Waveforms' has driving percussion and hypnotic, chant-like vocals while 'Zumm Zumm' (hopefully not a precursor to doing music for car adverts) is an infectious, fairground-esque, giddy bounce of a song. It's the most willfully ridiculous track on the album and probably isn't a highlight for me (although it's impossible to get out of yr head).

'Hand of Man' takes a turn into calmer, folkier territory with the band unveiling some sublime harmonies and immaculate guitar work. It's an unimposing, quiet album highlight which reminds me of Midlake. 'Love's Dart' picks up the pace again with the band building up the atmosphere through a repeated riff and crystal clear vocals, "Love's dart, broken heart… If you're walking in circles, you'll find yourself back at the start". It kind of reminds me of Radiohead's more recent work, how they build the song up through repetition and rhythms into something really enchanting. There's a subdued sense of youthful experimentalism running through these tracks that's hard not to admire. 'Wor' has a surf guitar riff stolen from the fretboard's of Kid Congo Powers (The Cramps) and Link Wray; unsurprisingly, it's absolutely brilliant.

'Storm' struts calmly along with a head full of cough medicine while 'Life's a Beach' utilises a little surf guitar again. 'Skies Over Cairo' uses tribal drums, electronics and a 'Walk Like an Egyptian' type riff played out on synths. What could have been a bad, studio in-joke actually works really well. It's pretty ridiculous too, though. 'Silver Rays' breaks tradition with the old 'end the album on a slow track that shows 'hidden' depths'. No, 'Silver Rays' sees Django Django gallop into the sunset on the back of racing synth lines and pounding drums.

A genuinely fresh sounding record; there's nothing cynical or forced about Django Django. Like a heady mix of The Coral, Late of the Pier, The Beta Band and Gruff Rhys; Django Django inject a much-needed dose of strangeness and pop-psychedelia into the indie-rock malaise. Pop music for people with an imagination. Nice one, guys.

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