Django Django – Born Under Saturn
An equally danceable follow-up to their Mercury nominated debut
When you had several years of mucking about carefree in student bedrooms to craft your distinctive and highly acclaimed first album, how do you then go about making a worthy follow-up under all the pressures of time and expectation that come with such success?
That’s the question Edinburgh-formed, London-based quartet Django Django were faced with as they set about writing and recording what would become Born Under Saturn, after a busy two years spent promoting their Mercury Prize nominated, self-titled debut of 2012.
Go with the flow seems to have been the answer. This 13 song collection does little radically different to its successor, instead expanding on the wealth of ideas it introduced – a danceable fusion of harmonic indie-rock with jerky African polyrhythms, housey electronics, strobey psychedelia and a whole box load of percussion – and having a fair amount of fun in the process by the sound of things.
Opener ‘Giant’ stomps along confidently on a shuddering piano riff towards a brilliant Robert-Smith-plays-funk guitar solo. The Hot Chip worthy ‘Reflections’ is equal parts harmonic and hypnotic, like the Beach Boys at a rave.
‘Shot Down’ has all the trippy swirl and swagger of a baby Beta Band (Djangos drummer David Maclean’s older brother John was in said cult Scottish group). ‘First Light’ is as close as this album gets to another song with the instant likeability of a ‘Default’, and with its martial drumbeat, bubbling arpeggiators, wobbly modular synths and swooping chorus hook, it’s close enough.
The shock of the new now lost from when Django Django first burst onto the scene, with Born Under Saturn they surely can’t hope to be lavished with the same amount of end-of-year lists scaling critical kudos as they were first time round. But this wholly accomplished return should nonetheless comfortably see them keep a strong foothold on the touring circuit and festival bills, long enough to figure out how to properly take things to the next level with album three.
Born Under Saturn is released on Mon 4 May on Because.