Saturday, January 12, 2013

REVIEW: Django Django - Django Django

Most bands would be quite satisfied with a initial career stage that resulted in a nomination for a Mercury Prize for their debut album, but most bands aren't going to achieve that kind of success.  London-based Django Django isn't like most bands.  Their self-titled debut album was nominated for a Mercury, after great success in the UK.  Then it was licensed for release in the US and has been enjoying success on this side of the Atlantic.  Then, in an embarrassment of riches, the album earned a coveted spot in my top 50 albums for 2012 (my list here).

What makes Django Django stand out, in addition to the excellent performances, is the distinctive sound.  The tracks marry various degrees of krautrock, post-rock, psychedelia, dance pop and, at times, country western guitars to make an album that is energetic and has a genuine sense of fun.  While the album's core is undeniably percussion and rhythm, the distinctive hooks, frills, effects and melodies hold their own.  And thematically, there is no self-imposed constraint to be conventional.  The boys are on an adventure, and we're along for the ride.  The deadpan vocals might remind you of The Talking Heads or the Beta Band, but the sense of wide scope and wry humor remind me more of the work of the Welsh band Super Furry Animals.

Try out the great sound on "Default", in which you may hear a nod to Bo Diddley's guitar riff.

Django Django has been called a Scottish band because the members met and began playing music while at Edinburgh College of Art.  But they now are based in London and the members -- David Maclean (drummer and producer), Vincent Neff (vocals and guitar), Jimmy Dixon (bass), and Tommy Grace (synths) --  hail from England and Ireland, as well as Scotland.

And here is a favorite of mine, in which the band builds a psychedelic stomp on a timeless rockabilly base --

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