A solid effort from one of indie’s success stories.
Label: Because Music
Released: 26th January 2018
When Django Django’s superb self-titled debut was nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize in 2012, few were more surprised than the band themselves. Sounding something like The Shadows in space, the unassuming quartet took their eclectic inspirations and molded them into something which sounded unique but also unmistakably familiar. Their knack for writing a great indie pop tune was cemented by the solid, if slightly bloated follow-up, ‘Born Under Saturn’, three years later. Now the Scottish art rockers are back with ‘Marble Skies’ – a more focused and realised ten track piece of work which retains the band’s sound while exploring new avenues.
It opens with the energetic, Kraftwerk-inspired title track. Propelled by the percussion of Anna Prior (drummer of fellow indie oddballs Metronomy), it’s a breathless opener with one of the band’s biggest choruses to date: “Take us as we are/We have come too far,” Vincent Neff sings defiantly. It’s followed by the glorious dancehall-flavoured ‘Surface To Air’, sung entirely by Rebecca Taylor from Slow Club. Drafting in someone from outside of the band to sing one of the album’s biggest tunes is a pretty ballsy move, but it works; Taylor’s soft croon complements Tommy Grace’s synths perfectly to produce a real gem of a track. Lead single ‘Tic Tac Toe’ sees the band in the more familiar rockabilly territory and pondering lyrics: “Lately, have you ever wondered why we’re put here?/Playing each and every game/Day by day.”
‘Marble Skies’ leans less on the reverb-laden guitar which characterised Django Django’s debut, and it’s clear they’ve made a conscious effort to explore new sounds and textures. It doesn’t always work though. The piano-driven ‘Sundials’ is pure filler, while ‘Fountains’ ambles on with little purpose. While Django Django’s third effort doesn’t quite reach the heights of its first, it’s a solid effort from one of indie’s success stories. Alex Thorp