Album Review: Django Django - Django Django
Somewhat dubiously overlooked by this year's BBC Sound of... poll, Django Django make a strong case for breakout success on their self-titled debut album. Fans of The Beta Band – who, it could be said, struck gold on 1999's landmark The Three EPs compilation but never quite managed to deliver on a long-player proper – might look at Django Django as the record that band should have been making while they were busy falling apart. The London-via-Edinburgh four-piece share with The Betas a love of Beach Boys harmonies and folk melodies (not to mention a familial link: drummer and founding member David Maclean is the younger brother of BB keyboardist John), but set it all against a tableau of twitching electronica, danceable rhythms and, perhaps crucially, '50s surf guitar twinned with the sort of modern take on psychedelic rock in evidence on Caribou’s Andorra LP (viz. early 7" track 'Love's Dart' in particular).
The result is a thrilling maiden voyage, and a worthy showcase of the quartet's talents: this is music you can dance to, and no mistake. After an atmosphere-building intro, 'Hail Bop'’s combination of rich vocal harmonies, deep hooks and bleeping soundscapes cements a winning start. This is followed by recent single 'Default', an insistent, deliciously spare slice of indie funk. At their best, Maclean et al. have a way of delivering uptempo, propulsive music that is refreshingly gentle. There’s no unnecessary aggression or hard edges here, and the electronics are reassuringly old-fashioned-sounding, bathing everything in a warm, pulsating glow.
While the edifying textures of the album's sound reflect good decision-making in its recording, the real triumph here is in the quality of the songs themselves. Whether it's 'Life’s A Beach'’s hazy psychedelics or 'Waveforms'’ hypnotic coda, the downtempo 'Hand of Man' or the shimmering surf-rock of 'WOR', this record is practically dripping with killer tunes and addictive interludes.
The reliably fickle tendencies of listmakers notwithstanding – and bearing in mind we are still only in February – don't be surprised to find Django Django featuring prominently in 2012's end-of-year roll call. In the more immediate term, expect the buzz behind these guys to gather real momentum as the summer months roll in.