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Born Under Saturn


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Performer Notes
  • When they arrived in 2012, U.K. indie quartet Django Django offered a sound like no other, blending single-note surf/Western guitar lines with vaguely psychedelic-electro undercurrents and big, clamoring rhythmic stacks that fell somewhere between Devo and drum corps. On top of it all were their strict, vibrato-less vocals, often sung in unison before breaking apart into close, sophisticated harmonies. On their 2015 follow-up Born Under Saturn, the former Edinburgh art students build on what can now be considered their signature sound with another clever, adventurous, and bold set of songs. There's a certain solidarity to Django Django in the way they present themselves and their music as a very complete, closed circuit. Songs like the excellent "Giant" and lead single "First Light" feel less like the work of a rock band and more like something made by a team of workers, in perfect sync with their internal machineries. They're not austere or cold; in fact they're quite playful, especially on upbeat rockers like "Shake & Tremble" and "The Life We Know," but they manage to keep a bit of distance between themselves and the audience that somehow makes them more fascinating. The masterful "Found You" is an album high point with its mysteriously snaking melody lines, elegant chorus, and staggered vocal rounds that conclude among exultant bursts of chirpy '60s organ. Like any great band, Django Django have taken notes, instruments, and sounds that have existed through the ages and found a previously unused combination well suited to their combined talents and personalities. A mishmash of disparate influences like the Beach Boys, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, and Ennio Morricone can all be heard on Born Under Saturn, yet it never feels derivative or even very referential. Produced again by drummer David Maclean, the rhythms and vocal melodies remain at the very front of their sound, with enough space between the elements to let the songs breathe. Their only real misstep here is in the album's length, which, at nearly an hour, starts to drag and feels about two to three songs too long. There are no outright clunkers in the mix, but a light trim would have further distilled the power of this excellent sophomore release. ~ Timothy Monger
Professional Reviews
NME (Magazine) - "Shot Down''s darkwave electro opens out naturally into the record's most anthemic chorus, and `Beginning To Fade' is a lovely waltz-time ballad..."

Clash (magazine) - "Honing their experimental side yet with more choruses than their debut, the overall vibes of a Vitamin-D doused Brian Wilson remain strong as ever on album two."
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