3 February 2018

Django Django - Marble Skies


Django Django is an art-rock band who formed in London in 2009, they have been wooing audiences around the world with their synth-driven indie rock, and I've regularly receive requests to review their previous albums.  If I'd not missed those releases when they first came out, I might have done it, but thankfully its third time lucky for me and I'm reviewing their latest release, Marble Skies.  This album has been well received even before it was released, the hype behind it has been loud, so loud that it even reached my ears and when I was offered the chance to review it, I didn't hesitate.  Now, as I don't know that much about the band outside what I've read on Wikipedia and the PR information that came with Marble Skies, I'll just get straight on with the review.

01 - Marble Skies

The title track opens this album, and straight away you're dropped into New Wave synth-driven power track.  It's draped in retro sounds, it really could have been a song that was recorded in the early 80's, and been unearthed in a recent clear out of the join attic of Trevor Horn and Giorgio Moroder if they ever shared an apartment. It's an energetic opening to this album, it's also perked my interest straight from the beginning.

02 - Surface to Air

"Surface to Air" features additional vocals from Rebecca Taylor from Indie Pop duo Slow Club, it's a beautiful daydream song which reminds me of an old-school Saint Etienne.  It's a beautiful number that takes a few spins to come to fruition, I think that's because the music behind the vocals is very sparse, but Rebecca Taylor's vocals are a beautiful accompaniment to those distance synth sounds.

03 - Champagne

"Champagne" combines the spirits of Talking Heads & Vampire Weekend and douses them in flames as it brings together in this slowly built, but ultimately energetic piece of New Wave noise that is one of the standout tracks of this album.  It's a beautiful piece, it's a little throwaway, but when it sounds this good, you don't care one iota. 

04 - Tic Tac Toe

"Tic Tac Toe" is a shot of adrenaline, a treble espresso to the brain first thing in the morning, with a fast pace drum sound, an acoustic guitar tone that wouldn't be out of place on a Pixies/Frank Black record and it's mixed with a synth performance that feels timeless.  There is a sense of fun to this song, it's infectious and you cannot help but smile when it's on.

05 - Further

With a sound that is straight out of the Danny Warhol's songbook, "Further" is a song that attempts to swagger, to give a sound of confidence and it almost gets away with it.  I say almost, because if I'm truly honest, but when it's stood up next to the other songs on the album, it's not as strong.  It does not contain the same quality as the opening four tracks, so it's a little dip in form when compared to that blistering opening quartet.  However, it's still not a bad song in the grand scheme of things, just not as good as others on the record.

06 - Sundials

"Sundials" is a song that will sound perfect during festival season, the very title just screams for a sunny day, around tea time as the heat of the day is giving way to dusk.  At that point in time, the world is not quite ready for a dance, but it needs a warm-up track - this is the track for that occasion.  It's dripping with promise, hope is at its heart and in this song, it's always summer.  It's a beautiful number that will make the hardest heart smile, I love it for its simple joy.

07 - Beam Me Up

"Beam Me Up" starts with a merge from "Sundials", but it's a very different beast compared to its sunshine brother.  The sun has set with this one, everything is dark, with the mood has turned sour.  It's the moody side to Django Django, with its dark underbelly that is draped in neon lights, nightclubbing and a little bit of regret as well.  It might seem I'm dissing this track, but I'm not.  It's just as important as "Sundials" as you cannot have a day without the night, and some nights have hidden agendas and foul deeds in mind.

08 - In Your Beat

"In Your Beat" is another night-time track, it's designed for the clubs and for those hi-energy moments where the club is jumping, the music is loud with everything is going right.  I love the passion of the band on this song, there is nothing but positivity coming from this song and it's another highlight on Marble Skies.

09 - Real Gone

"Real Gone" is a slow building track, taking it's time to get started before it drops in an energetic bass drum.  Sadly, "Real Gone" never truly gains traction to be honest, due to a stop/start feeling to the vocals and the removal and reappearance of certain levels of synth.  It's not without charms though, with its Hot Chip-esque sound and alternative electronica vibe that hit the spot when they all come together.  The sad thing is for this song, they don't stay together for long enough to make a real impact.

10 - Fountains

"Fountains" is the chillout ending that I was expecting, a relaxing ending which is low on energy, but high on quality.  It's designed to calm the mind down after the rest of the album, to guide you back to earth gently after the rest of the music has raised your heartbeat so high.  It does this job perfectly, ending the album on the correct note.

I'm truly impressed by this record, I mean this with all honesty as I came into the record with no expectations and it's floored me with one of the best performances I've heard from a British Indie band in years.  WIth a huge influence of British Electronica and indie sensibilities, mixed in that New Wave sound, which has created an album that is perfect for the night and for the daytime in Marble Skies.  Whilst it's not the usual thing I would have reached for, it's a truly impressive album, I expect this to be in the mix for people's end of year lists and awards as 2018 rumbles on.

8.5 out of ten - This is good and worth checking out

Top track - Marble Skies

You can purchase Marble Skies on Amazon here.

You can visit the Django Django website on here.

You can follow the activities of Django Django on Facebook here.

You can stream Marble Skies on Spotify here.

You can stream Marble Skies on Deezer here.

You can stream Marble Skies on Tidal here.

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