REVIEW: DJANGO DJANGO – BORN UNDER SATURN (2015)
I deem myself lucky to have witnessed some of the very early days of Django Django surrounding the January 2012 release of their debut album. It was in Europe, well before their 1960s sounds harmoniously bubbled over the ocean into sold out tours in the States. The quartet united while at Edinburgh College of Art back in 2009, giving only a few short years to meditate on and provide the world with a gloriously intricate debut LP. The cherry on the cake? Their live concert was truly an experience that matched the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory sonic wonders within. Perfect example? “Hail Bop.” Imagine Brian Wilson’s uncle operating a town carnival…in some alternate, distant universe catered towards Peter Quill.
The appetizer of “First Light” gave promise of the same atmosphere, oscillating between claps and keys. The latter hints at a more somber painting within the frames. The weight is carried over from opener “Giant,” nestling Vinnie Neff amidst his compatriots’ soaring harmonies. It lulls the listener, stepping up to a plateau before holding albeit slightly too long, and dropping into the more jarring “Shake and Tremble.” “Shake and Tremble” teeters between yé-yé and a country jaunt before withdrawing into a phenomenal bass line from Jim Dixon. It’s the exact driving pop brillance that comes from the bar set by their debut. “For You” scoops up the quartet into more experimental realms with dots and dashes of delightful percussion.
Delving deeper, one can’t help but think immediately to Andrew Wyatt and Miike Snow’s “Paddling Out” when “Reflections” tugs on the ear. Quasi-industrial dance rhythms offer some sort of predictability that the group seems so conscious of, they toss a saxophone in for good, welcome measure.
“Vibrations,” “Beginning to Fade” and “4000 Years” round out the second half of the album. Admittedly, Born Under Saturn is a more solid beginning to end LP. “4000 Years” evoking the percussive and guitar twang while borrowing the aforementioned saxophone to push their familiar territory frontiers farther. “Beginning to Fade” is that lazy summer days track that leaves the listener in a calm, tranquilized state while walls drip in humidity and whatever else entered your system twenty or forty minutes ago. “Vibrations” retains the magnificent quirks that the debut so fantastically executed, and lacks a little on Born Under Saturn.
Decidedly mature, a tad too lengthy, the second album from Django Django won’t disappoint. It builds upon the experimentation that gave their self-titled debut that undeniable charm, polishing it to a sheen, yet ensuring that the four-piece is still no where near ready to hang up their coats.