Album Review: Django Django – Born Under Saturn

Tom Bevan 7 May 2015

It is in very much the same musical vein as their first record that Django Django release new album Born Under Saturn, out this week on Because Music. And after the success of their eponymous debut album, one can hardly blame them.

Often relying upon playing eccentric, dissonant melodies and soaring harmonised vocals up against each another over prominent, sometimes brash percussion, the London four piece produce a sound whose energy and originality is matched only by the difficulty in pulling together such contrasting themes. And it is this skill of maintaining such fragile relationships that Django Django were able to stand out in their previous LP; upon first inspection they have continued in similar fashion this time round.

However, after a few more listens it seems the band have made some significant progressions. Opener ‘Giant’ immediately sets a different tone; a simple piano line immediately stomping into the fore, clearly marking its territory. This change is found most explicitly in ‘Found You’: “I’ve seen your face in better days, how times have changed / the seasons come and go, even so it’s strange” is chanted towards the end of the track as the low tempo drips with loss and perhaps even regret, an emotion I would never have associated with the band. Fear not, the carefree days of ‘Waveforms’ and ‘Life’s a Beach’ are by no means totally gone: ‘Shake and Tremble’ and ‘Vibrations’ could easily have been plucked straight from the joyous first album. But the change of mood certainly permeates the whole record and it seems that the band has matured as a collective; or at any rate, are more introspective than ever before.

With a change in atmosphere comes, it seems, a slight drop in overall quality. ‘Pause Repeat’ and ‘4000 Years’ are both atypically boring while ‘Reflections’ features a saxophone solo that would sound fitting in a Shrek parody video, rendering the song totally unlistenable. While Born Under Saturn represents a definite shift for Django Django, and although it seems the album is slightly more polarised in quality than the debut, it has enough about it for it to be an interesting improvement. Definitely worth a listen.