Django Django‘s sophomore album could not have come soon enough, and no one shares this feeling more than the band themselves. After “playing their songs on autopilot” for too long, the want of fresh material in their repertoire seems to have driven the band into ignoring the stereotypical ‘difficult second album’ and going straight to experimenting with their signature sound.
In what is a natural evolution, Born Under Saturn makes the self-titled debut seem different retrospectively, like the band were testing the water with their eclectic mix of synths, surf guitars, and scintillating vocals. When we loved it, Django Django unchained, dived in, and made everything bigger.
The album opens with Giant, a familiar-sounding track that has all the elements you’d expect from one of their songs if you hadn’t heard any of the singles yet. It eases us into the new album by having something comforting, yet not the same 12 songs you’ve had on repeat for the last month in anticipation.
Straight after the twilight feeling of Giant, a Syd-Barratt-esque, chugging piece of neo-psychedelia changes the tone immediately, with the only consistency in sound being the power of Django’s harmonies and vocal riffs. Whatever magic beans were planted in the first track have sprung up here, as the sounds are noticeably bolder than before, with an air of refinement and freshness. The contrast between Shake and Tumble and its predecessor is obvious, and this constant to-ing and fro-ing between genres keeps up momentum for the remaining 47 minutes.
However, this is where the album falls down. Athough everything they’ve tried is well-put-together and perfectly produced, the range of different things makes the band seem like a hyperactive toddler jumping from one thing to the next. As a whole, Born Under Saturn doesn’t flow very well in its entirety, and the tracklist could do with some re-jigging. For starters, the slow, melodic Beginning to Fade brings the tone right down, only for the next three tracks to be thumping dancers that bring it all back up until it stops suddenly.
That’s not to say it’s not a great album that has a tremendous amount of high-quality tunes in it. However a slight re-adjustment in the order would’ve tightened it up that little bit more and properly sent Django Django intergalactic.
Born Under Saturn by Django Django can be ordered here.