Monday 20 November 2017

Blazing a trail of new year optimism

Django Django Django Django (Because Music)

Clinical psychologists tell us that mid-January is the most depressing time of the year. People are broke after Christmas. They've screwed up on their new year resolutions. Stuff is getting dearer and most new album releases are by acts that sound deadly dull or shamelessly crave celebrity.

You don't have to be Professor Brian Cox to know that the universe works in mysterious ways. And, as if from a distant galaxy of optimism, Django Django arrive just in time to save the world with their debut album. Those of us who'd marvelled at the cheeky flash of their first single some two years ago, held our breath. Even in inter-planetary travel, two years is a long time. So much can change. And too often for the worse.

It takes just 30 seconds of the instrumental introduction to this album (that develops over 12 further songs) to be reassured that all is well with this Scottish/Northern Ireland quartet who met up at art college in Edinburgh.


Drummer and producer David Maclean has a background as a Detroit techno and acid- house club DJ. Like Bobby Gillespie, he also has a passion for '60s psych rock. Throw in a communal joy of melody, a love of Beach Boys harmonies and the sense of fun and adventure that informs all great popular music and, before you can say "SHAZAM", you've got a glorious, tripped-out celebration of all that's energising and daft about musical genres from rockabilly to minimalist electronica.

Hail Bop is a woozy love song to Hale-Bopp, the brightest comet of the 20th century. What sound like android voices provide the chorus on Default, a mutant Euro-beat that mixes the group's signature sounds of clip-clop glam-rock rhythms, primitive squelching synths and twangy Link Wray guitars.

With an underlying Golden Earring-style beat and Roky Erickson-style lyrics ("leaning on a tombstone, scratching in the dirt . . ."), Firewater sounds like something legendary British producer Joe Meek (Telstar) would have made if he'd worked with Beck.

Wor combines surf guitar with a relentless 13th Floor Elevators-style urgency. As their song titles suggest, this exuberant eclectic aesthetic is evident in everything from Skies Over Cairo to Zumm Zumm. All hail Django Django. HHHHI

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