Category Archives: Django Django

Django Django – Django Django

Django Django – Django Django

3.5/5

2012

Django Django’s eponymous debut album is first and foremost a dance record, but it bristles with so many stylistic fusions and ideas, it doesn’t play like one. In this sense, it’s very much a product of 2000s indie music, where breaking down the boundaries between genres isn’t just common—it’s expected. This isn’t to say that Django Django is predictable; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Swirling electronics, twitchy drum beats, art-damaged guitars and whimsical sound effects all typically make their appearances, but here they are assembled in strange, bracing ways. The Beta Band’s anything-goes art rock is an obvious touchstone (not to mention an easy comparison since that band’s keyboardist is brothers with Django Django’s David Maclean), but there’s also elements of Hot Chip’s synth-dance, the world fusion of early Yeasayer and bits of British psych-pop that run the gamut from Syd Barrett to XTC. What’s satisfying about the record, though, is how the group fuses these disparate influences into a distinctive style. And the album starts out great, connecting the dots from ideas to execution: “Hail Bop” saunters in with decaying guitar riffs and lovely vocal harmonies, while the infectious “Default” glitches and jerks around before clearing away for the bluesy stomp of “Firewater.” More or less, the record continues on like this, offering spins on this same formula with a fairly high success rate since they never let their genre-hopping overwhelm the songs. The thing is, by the time the last batch of tracks roll around, the formula begins to get a little old. It’s not for lack of trying (“Skies Over Cairo” has a fittingly Egyptian bent to it), and a couple tracks stand out (namely “Love’s Dart and the western-inspired “Wor”), but by and large, the record would have benefited greatly from changes in mood or tempo. Because the beginning of the album is filled with so many colorful ideas, it’s a shame that the group doesn’t leave their comfort zone more often, especially when the most gnarled songs here are frequently the most interesting. But even if it isn’t compelling throughout, Django Django has fits of creative brilliance, moments that suggest a bright future for the London-based band.

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