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

Single Review – Young Fathers – In My View

Edinburgh’s vibrant and creative force is born out in the city’s trio Young Fathers. 2015 saw them enthuse listless elements and genres together from Hip Hop, Jazz, Pop, Art Rock, Electronica and more to create White Men Are Black Men Too. They proved themselves to be a thought-provoking group with bold, outward messages based on a simple, but by no means unimpressive songwriting style. They had already teased their approach for their second effort Cocoa Sugar with 2017’s ‘Only God Knows’ and with their new single ‘In My View’ they demonstrate this to be a more expansive arrangement coupled with a crisp arrangement. Scattered percussion paces with drive at the heart of the track with vocal instrumentation accentuated each beat. Such a prominent rhythm accommodates the three separate vocal parts from each member for a fine balance powerful lead vocals and the darker tones of spoken words. Yet again, they bend and marry genres and styles to their will naturally for what is an immaculate piece of music you won’t hear the like of this year.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Django Django – In Your Beat

From the moment you press play on Django Django’s new single 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.

Ellie Chivers

Sunday Suggestion – Django Django – Waveforms

Edinburgh’s Django Django’s 2012 album of the same name was a real feat of modern art-rock and psychedelic electronic music. Apart from this their vocal harmonies and vocal repetitions and their utilisation of a simple beat and rhythm to maximum effect enhanced their music even more. All of this is encapsulated quite well with ‘Waveforms’. It was their first single release off their debut album. The whirring and melodic combination of synths and the subtle guitar and percussion elements show that less can be more and that utilising your vocals can pay off a lot better than you think. You’ll find this song on GTA V too, for those of you who play it. Not sure how the song sounds when brutally murdering someone in a gangwar but hey there you go!

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Django Django – Born Under Saturn Review

The Edinburgh formed quartet that is Django Django have released their second studio album Born Under Saturn today with the promise of stronger Disco and electronic influences with the certainty of crisp production and harmonious vocal combinations. If successful, it would produce an album with easy hooks and melodies and more advanced versions of tracks of their first album from 2012. With that mercury prized nominated, self titled album being the standard, then Django Django might have produced a dark horse of an album this year.

A track that so far heralded a progressive and tangible change in their sound was ‘First Light’. It’s a song with a slick drum machine beat and expansive synth sounds that give the song a pulsating rhythm. These more rooted instrumentals are balanced by the smooth vocals harmonies that were utilised so well with their first album, for they make the song more engaging whilst leaving the more expansive and fluid instrumentals untouched. They have discovered what aspects of their previous work would enhance their new sound and have married the two aspects seamlessly and it has already given them more scope to alter the dynamics of this album. ‘Reflections’ has a more immediate rhythm and beat without the expanses of ‘First Light’. The track is kept close with the isolated bouncing synths and piano chords layered over them. These are met with their trademark vocal sweeps that usher back and forth the songs progressions. It doesn’t the instantaneous appeal that their first single has, but it is certainly a track that makes more sense the more you listen.

‘Shake and Tremble’ opens with a Silver Apples type purpose with it’s stretched, rotating sounds that propel the song into it’s buoyant guitar driven mainstay. It’s similar to that of their first album with the vocal combinations and harmonies smoothly crossing paths and merging into one with that rattling guitar sound echoing through it. In this case, it’s with a little more purpose and rapidity accentuated by the high keys of a piano and a more defined bass line. These are built up and worked down in the song’s transitions and highlights the energy in the track. A familiar, but proven solution here. ‘Beginning to Fade’ has a waltzing rhythm and a more earthy instrumental sound with it’s swaying acoustics and guitar fills over the top of it. The vocals here are more close in their sound, but you feel more could have been done with the vocals in what is quite a simple track instrumentally. ‘Pause Repeat’ has an intriguing build up of electronica and vocal harmonies but kind of flatlines beyond that. ‘Found You’ is another song that doesn’t utilise it’s minimalism with an alternative space filler. The album demonstrates how good their singles are, but you’re hard pressed to find something equating to their quality or dynamism. It’s an album not as intricate as their first, but certainly with signs of advancement and one that’s certainly worth a considered listen.

Django Django – Born Under Saturn = 7.5/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Django Django – Shake and Tremble

Django Django, pop

Before Django Django release Born Under Saturn (Their Second Studio Album) tomorrow, why not take a look at their latest single ‘Shakes and Tremble’. It opens with a Silver Apples type purpose with it’s stretched, rotating sounds that propel the song into it’s buoyant guitar driven mainstay. It’s similar to that of their first album with the vocal combinations and harmonies smoothly crossing paths and merging into one with that rattling guitar sounds echoing through it. In this case, it’s with a little more purpose and rapidity accentuated by the high keys of a piano and a more defined bass line. These are built up and worked down in the song’s transitions and highlights the energy in the track. A familiar, but proven solution here.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Young Fathers – White Men are Black Men Too Review

The Edinburgh based Hip-hop trio and current winners of the Mercury Prize, were very much shock nominees and winners of the award due to their relative obscurity next to the likes of Damon Albarn, FKA Twigs or Bombay Bicycle Club. It would be hard to deny them the prize however due to the interesting combinations on show for their debut album DEAD. That album, however, was made with little pressure or expectation. Now with their second studio LP, they will be a greater pressure to add to the success of their debut and justify their title of Mercury Prize winners. The initial promise with White Men are Black Men Too is one of a greater depth of variety and influence then that of their debut, but variety and innovative combinations don’t always work. Did the risk pay off?

‘Shame’ has an easily identifiable rhythmic purpose and directions with the collation of percussive types and samples along with the vocal ‘instrumentals’ with the backing vocals taking on the melody and are the light to the shade of bass-level, deep droning of the synths. This makes the track energetic and lively, but is produced in a slightly muffled and muted fashion that isn’t obtrusive or blocky. The earthy and slightly out of kilter vocals combine with the instrumentals to enforce the wiry and gently uplifting melody. By the close of the track, the electronica becomes more expansive and open to pick up the sound further in line with the growing vocal combinations. It’s a smart track that through less obvious means has generated a track with intelligent and creative melodies and rhythms. ‘Rain or Shine’ opens with warped and worn staccato-like organs which generates an urgency and alertness to the track. Again, this is set up behind a slightly muffled and distorted filter and this allows for the sung and spoken vocals so have freedom of movement to deliver the lyrics. The sung vocals also sit behind this distorted percussion and they act as a part of the instrumental set up in what is a minimalist track practically. The introduction of Joshua Hayward-like shredding guitars sees the song spiral and spin off to a an ever higher level of urgency as the song’s close.

’27’ has a more sweeping warped organ-like synth to open with which acts as the piece of fluidity amongst the oncoming piano chords, reverberating bass electronica and rotating percussion. These secondary elements fade in and out to often leave the organs sounds in atmospheric isolation, before the rest of the instrumentals swing back to progress the song more rapidly. ‘Nest’ is another piece of subtle, yet uplifting pop with the isolated and bold vocal production sat proudly ahead of the vocal instrumentals and the buoyant pianos and handclap percussion. The vocal combinations add an aspect of pure melody and a smooth progression to the track which is naturally fluid without the aid of too much production and with this track it was a case of what they left out which made it work. ‘Get Started’ mixes soulful vocals with experimental electronica that sits somewhere between Julian Casablancas and The Voidz and the Knife. Through this, a delicate and meandering tune extracted out of the track. The song goes on to develop a great burst of light against the early shade with the wistful backing vocals and the more expansive electronica. On the whole this album succeeded brilliantly in combining an even greater number of influences in their music and making them shine with intricate hooks and rhythmic qualities. These often un-cluttlered tracks ensure that they can advance their instrumentals methods and production solutions. It’s a fine album, deserving of many more awards for Young Fathers. A sign that British music is in good hands for the future.

Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too = 9.5/10

Single Review – Django Django – Reflections

The London based Edinburgh art-rock quartet Django Django release their second single off their upcoming second studio album Born Under Saturn which is available on May 4th. This track has a more immediate rhythm and beat without the expanses of ‘First Light’. The track is kept close with the isolated bouncing synths and piano chords layered over them. These are met with their trademark vocal sweeps that usher back and forth the songs progressions. It doesn’t the instantaneous appeal that their first single has, but it is certainly a track that makes more sense the more you listen and is another strong addition to their promising second album.

Single Review – Django Django – First Light

London based art rockers from Edinburgh: Django Django return with a their first new material since their self titled debut from 2012. It was an album full of imaginative combinations of genres and sounds showcased though refrained and consistent production. Now they have provided us with a new track entitled ‘First Light’ off their upcoming untitled second album. It’s a track that so far heralds a progressive and tangible change in their sound. It’s a song with a slick drum machine beat and expansive synth sounds that give the song a pulsating rhythm. These more rooted instrumentals are balanced by the smooth vocals harmonies that were utilised so well with their first album, for they make the song more engaging whilst leaving the more expansive and fluid instrumentals untouched. They have discovered what aspects of their previous work would enhance their new sound and have married the two aspects seamlessly and it has already given them more scope to alter the dynamics of not only their this song but their album.