Django Django – Marble Skies Review

Edinburgh’s accomplished Art-Rockers return with their third full length album Marble Skies after a period of six years plying intricate and eccentric melodic and rhythmic parts to peak the curiosity of listeners as opposed to blowing them away. They have always centred their Art Rock, Neo-Psychedelic and Indie Disco sounds around strong and interchangeable vocals harmonies. A long time has passed since their immaculate debut though and they can’t rely on their eccentricities forever. What have they got up their sleeve on this occasion?

From the moment you press play on ‘In Your Beat’ you enter a labyrinth of psychedelic pop euphoria. Carried by lurching waves of synths galore and video-game-esque touches, the latest single taken from their third album – Marble Skies – is packed with incessant, aggressive eighties notions. The lyrics become part of the instrumentalism, with Vincent Neff’s mechanical vocals blending into the techno backing track. It’s an electronica overload – one which fans of the four-piece’s past tracks, despite still being as eccentric but more compliant with rock stereotypes, may grapple with. ‘Tic Tac Toe’ is another unrelenting track which is based on the jangling riffs of the rhythm sections and a percussion that goes from a pounding to a marching beat. The track occasionally gets lost in needless vocal effects and it’s repetitive nature. What does save it is its energy and the perfect vocal harmonies that seemingly can get them out of any situation.

The title track is a shimmering and glistening piece of retro electronica that is another track driving down a faster time signature. This track gives them a different vocal structure to tackle which changes the complexion of the song to lend itself to the rapid pace, making a solid hook. The fact the music is arranged their vocals and lyrics generates a significant change to their sound that differs from them singing unison contrary to the arrangement. ‘Surface to Air’ feat. Self Esteem demonstrates their ability to produce a piece of chiming, melancholy Pop. ‘Champagne’ is an attempt at some wiry Chamber Pop which akin to Temples, but with a lack of execution. In general the album drifts from solid track to slightly wayward track and despite a faithful map of influences and attempt at mixing things up, they don’t hit the nail on the head here. This leads to an album of familiar plus points and occasional flashes of intrigue interceded by the occasional drop of the ball. They could really make something exciting and innovative, but you have to wonder if they’ve got the temperament to do so.

Django Django – Marble Skies = 6/10

Owen Riddle & Eleanor Chivers

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