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After their 2012 Mercury Prize nominated debut and 2015’s Top 20 follow-up ‘Born Under Saturn’, musical adventurers Django Django are back for 2017, exploring new sounds with their brand new album ‘Marble Skies’ which will be released on January 26th on Because Music.
Today the album launches with first single ‘Tic Tac Toe’, a rousing, trippy upbeat rock track with an enormous echoing hookline which will excite fans of the band’s rockabilly-influenced elements. The accompanying video for ‘Tic Tac Toe’ was directed by John Maclean, brother of Django Django drummer/producer David Maclean and director of the critically acclaimed modernist western Slow West. It depicts vocalist/guitarist Vincent Neff enjoying a rapid-fire day-trip to Hastings which takes a turn into the surreal and sinister when a ghost train puts him on a collision course with a grim reaper inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal.
As John Maclean explains: “The film could be about the fading era of the beach arcades, time moving too fast, love and games, horror and happiness but it is actually about a man who needs to go buy a pint of milk to make a cup of tea.”
After the brilliant, rave-shaped grooves and expansive arrangements of its predecessor, ‘Marble Skies’ is a more concise and focused offering which recalls the dynamic, genre-blurring music of their debut. It’s a return to form; an album which finds them returning to the handmade, cut-and-paste approach of the past.
Upon finishing the ‘Born To Saturn’ tour, Dave ventured to LA to work on a production project, whilst the other band members went to India with the British Council. When they returned, the new album process began with a back-to-basics approach which recalled the DIY ethos of the band’s early days, Django Django – minus an absent Maclean – assembled at Urchin Studios in Tottenham, London with Metronomy drummer Anna Prior to experiment with the idea of coming up with new tracks through loose jamming sessions. After ten days of recording, there was plenty of raw material to send up to Dave (then back in his hometown of Dundee) for him to edit, refine and evolve.
As ever, all four band members (completed by Tommy Grace on synths and bassist Jimmy Dixon) contributed to the band’s music, melodies and lyrics as the final album took shape.
Parts of ‘Marble Skies’ find Django Django sailing into uncharted territories, not least the driving title track (propelled by Prior’s drumming), with its echoes of Krautrock and Suicide. Meanwhile, the hazy Zombies-like summer pop of ‘Champagne’, which explores the joys and ills of alcohol, was inspired by the band’s over-indulgence during a boat trip on the Seine that was hosted by their label.
Those drawn to the more dance-orientated side of Django Django will find much to love in the twisted ‘80s electro pop of ‘In Your Beat’ and the dancehall-influenced ‘Surface To Air’, a dreamy-headed pop song fronted by Rebecca Taylor of Slow Club. The collaboration came as a result of the two bands meeting up at SXSW some years ago, where Rebecca and Dave in particular bonded over shared interests in R&B, hip-hop and dancehall. Another more surprising collaborator is Jan Hammer, the Czech-born, American-based jazz-fusion and electronic artist who shares writing credits with the band on the gorgeously floaty ‘Sundials’.
If there’s a mood running through ‘Marble Skies’, it’s one of reflection on things past and present, and finding some kind of peace with your place in the grand scheme of things.
The album tracklisting is:
1. ‘Marble Skies’
2. ‘Surface To Air’
4. ‘Tic Tac Toe’
7. ‘Beam Me Up’
8. ‘In Your Beat’
9. ‘Real Gone’
© Caroline International Nordics