Django Django – Marble Skies
- David Pollock
- 26 January 2018
The band's third album bounces between retro reverence and impatient futurist exploration
The appearance of Django Django's third album within a couple of weeks of Franz Ferdinand's latest seems like some sort of engineered Blur / Oasis contest between bands of Anglo-Scots who got their start in and around art schools. Not that we want to pit two of our favourites against one another, but the comparison does illustrate just how tricky it is to seamlessly fuse synthesisers with a more typical band set-up, and how well-practiced Django Django are at it.
Although the quartet's self-titled 2012 debut album monopolised a lot of the critical attention they've enjoyed so far (and a Mercury Music Prize nomination), both 2015's Born Under Saturn and now Marble Skies have maintained a similar level of quality and sonic exploration. They make incredibly versatile, intergenerational music, which works for soundtracking both dancefloors and school runs. Advance single 'In Your Beat' has a crunchy, endlessly satisfying techno rhythm, while Vincent Neff's highly-produced choirboy harmony creates a compelling pop hook. 'Real Gone' is a striking song, an old-fashioned acid-house beast which breaks into a 4am Balearic piano and synth coda as Neff croons that 'We've been lost but now we're found / But the moment's almost real gone'.
Great songs abound on this record, from the opening title track (an odd but utterly logical amalgam of blissed-out Madchester guitar chimes and Yazoo-esque synthpop) to the Latin groove of 'Surface to Air', with Slow Club's Rebecca Taylor on vocals. All of the above-named electronic adventures bookend the album, together with the breezy West Coast rock of 'Fountains', and surround a run of tracks which bear more classic influences, from the 13th Floor Elevators reverb heaviness of 'Champagne' and 'Further', to the piano-led flower power of 'Sundials'. Bouncing between retro reverence and impatient futurist exploration, Django Django remain a great and timeless pop band in search of an era all their own.
Out now on Ribbon Music.